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This is JoCo podcast number 273 with Echo, Charles and me, Jakiel Willink. Good evening. Good evening.


I was with the Turks and we were heading south, the Chinese had entered the war a few days before they had kicked the ass of the entire 8th Army and we were on the run. We had descended a spur of the ridge and were crossing the valley when we came to a village.


Everywhere you looked were the corpses of slaughtered Americans, one, a captain of infantry I had met back in Fort Lewis was strung up by the wrist between two buildings, his feet not quite touching the ground.


He raised his head slightly and his lips trembled as he tried to speak, his strength lay in a pool of frozen blood beneath his feet.


I leaned my rifle against the wall. And reached up to cut the ropes. Water, he breathed softly, then coughed once, the air gurgling through the blood in his throat.


I'd heard it before from the coal miners back in her mining. It made no difference whether I cut him down or not. He was dead. His chin sank to his chest and he swayed lightly, like the thin, frail branches of the willow trees next to the cemetery back home. The men captured with him were hanging to. Some between branches, some in doorways, one between two thick limbs of an ancient apple tree.


They had all been butchered the same way, stripped, then strung up like Christ on the cross. Their stomachs had been sliced open and their guts pulled out to dangle down before them. Blood, flesh and guts were trampled in the snow everywhere. The Turks glided silently from body to body, cutting each down and laying it to rest. A bright Korean moon etched in silver, the horror of the scene. I can hardly remember a time when I didn't want to be in the service both my brothers were in, but I was a chief torpedo man in the North Atlantic.


Chuck, the oldest, was an infantry company commander in Europe. Bud was the more colorful storyteller. And the Navy would have been my choice, hands down. Except for Hollywood. Artillery barrages, hand-to-hand combat, paratroopers, the jungles, Errol Flynn in Burma, that was war.


I was born to be an infantryman. And that right there is the opening of a book called The Making of a Soldier by Lieutenant Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Herbert.


And this is an incredible book.


And I've been referencing it here and there as I've been reading it for the last few months.


And it's actually two books, there's actually two books, one is the book I was just reading from called The Making of a Soldier. The other is simply called Soldier, both written by Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Tony Herbert. And I first heard of these books a few months ago. I'd never heard of them before.


And I spoke to the cadets at West Point and the colonel that hosted me by the name of Colonel Pat Howel, he's the director of the Modern War Institute at West Point.


And after this event, he emailed me and during the event I had mentioned about Face and Hackworth while I was talking to the to the cadets. And Colonel Hall sent me a photograph in this email. And this photograph that he sent was.


A photograph of his copy of About Face. And it was actually signed by Colonel Hackworth and her Hackworth and the inscription said to Patrick, You come from a long line of great warriors who led by that adage.


Of looking after your men warmest regards, Haak. And it turned out that Hackworth had worked for Colonel Haoles grandfather in the army. And so, Colonel, how sent me a message, and he also sent me a message, an image of another book and the book that he sent me the image of is called Soldier and Colonel Hell said this in the email is said, Speaking of Dave Hackworth.


I sent a pic of his autograph of my copy, and he had worked for my grandfather years previously. I've also seen a picture of a very Hackworth like story about a guy named Tony Herbert. The book is called Soldier.


He also was enlisted in the Korean War, got commissioned and then was a battalion commander in Vietnam and had a prickly time with his chain of command.


He also worked for my grandfather back in Germany circa nineteen sixty. So, I mean, I get that report right there. All I need to hear, I hunt down these books online, these two books, one one soldier and and then the other one the making of a soldier.


And I ordered them both. And it's to me. OK, well, great. I got another warrior that I can try and learn from. Pretty straightforward, but I should have paid more attention to the statement that herbut that this guy, Colonel Herbert, had, quote, had a prickly time with his chain of command in Vietnam.


This is actually a pretty significant understatement and it makes this whole story and the lessons learned.


Just not not quite as straightforward. A lot of controversy and the whole this whole story, which is a combined about a 600 pages of reading between the two books.


As I tried, as I read these books. In this way, this story. Comes out, it's a pretty big elephant to try and swallow, and I wasn't quite sure how to approach the whole thing for for the podcast. I read the books and then I'm kind of stewing on them because there's the whole thing.


There's war and there's war crimes and there's accusations and counteraccusations and there's good leadership and there's bad leadership. And it's all it's all wrapped up around the story of one of the most highly decorated soldiers from the Korean War. A man that you're going to see how often this guy is wounded over and over again, blown up, hit with white phosphorus shot.


And bayonetted multiple times. So you have this completely heroic individual that is definitely a Hackworth type leader and you see these heroic tendencies eventually get caught up and put through the wringer of politics and ego and the bureaucratic machine and. It just really makes it a complex story, and as I read the book, the both of them, that there was lesson after lesson of what to do and what not to do and what to watch out for.


And like I said, because the vast range of the story is hard for me to wrap my head around it and present it and figure out how to present it. And luckily, I have a standard operating procedure of what to do when I'm facing a tough task. What you do is you put your rock on and you start marching. And that's what we're going to do here, the life and times of Colonel Anthony, Tony Herbert, and I'm going to utilize both these books and kind of bounce back and forth to get some background on on Herberts life to start with.


We're going to go to his second book. Which is called soldier. So here we go. Both my brothers were born well before me, Charles, 15 years earlier, and Jules Paul, 11, almost a different generation, a fact of life for which I never really forgave them, because when World War Two came along, they both packed up and marched off, leaving me standing on the front porch, cursing the irrevocable fact that in nineteen forty one in America there wasn't a great demand for 10 year old fighting men.


I cried, too, when they left, not because they were going to war and might not come back, but because I couldn't go with them. My mother tried to comfort me, the army doesn't want you now, Tony. She said you've just got to learn to understand rules are rules.


But I neither could nor would all I really knew for certain was that one day, above all other things, I wanted to be a soldier and that somebody or something was ruining my dream. So this guy comes out of the womb ready to rock and roll, as they say, and I'll tell you as I get into this early life, it's definitely a very cool description of America in this time frame, both prior to World War two, when he's a little kid.


And then as he gets a little bit older, he says this guns were always an integral part of my life in the herbut family, not because we were great sportsmen or anything like that, but simply because we like to eat and eating wasn't simple, wasn't a simple matter for a coal miner and his family in those days. The mines were all my father had ever known.


The day after day regimen of dust and dirt and darkness and penny pinching and poverty with never enough pennies to pinch up until John L. Lewis and the United Mine Workers came along in nineteen thirty nine. The most cash my father ever saw for one week's work was two dollars.


The rest of his compensation came in the form of credit at the Eureka store, where Mr. Stall's the manager and dutiful employee of the mine, would carefully match the amount of purchases against the amount of credit it inevitably worked out at the end of the year that my father and every other miner in town had bought more than their credit allowed.


All my life, I heard my father, mother worry about paying off the company store before they died, their chief aim was to leave without passing that particular debt onto their children.


They lived in a company owned house in a company owned town, in a company owned co., neither my father nor any other man who worked in the mines could quit. How could they the mines owned them. But none of us ever really felt poor. There were so many other families just like us that we had no standard of comparison, everybody had to struggle to make it, at least everybody with whom we had any contact.


And for all we knew, the whole world lived precisely as we did there in Germany, 40 miles from Pittsburgh, deep in the black heart of coal mine country.


Different kind of lifestyle. Yes. If my father ever complained about the grim cycles in his life, I never heard him. He was a steady as a cock up before Dawn walked to the mine back home in the evening for a glass of beer or two before supper and then to bed, but with a wife and four children, Charles and Jules, my two older brothers, plus our sister Irene, four years, my senior and me. There was never enough money, never near enough.


And the income from his guide service and I skipped ahead. He also like will guide hunters. Sometimes his income from the guide service couldn't bridge the gap. He trapped muskrats and sold pelts to Montgomery Ward and Sears and Roebuck. An average skin would bring about a dollar seventy five.


An exceptionally good one would sell for three dollars. And although he approached his trapping with all the same skill and determination devoted to his job at the mine and his hunting, it still wasn't enough. There were occasions when he would have to trudge down to the welfare office. It was painful for him. I knew he dreaded every trip he had ever made down there. And when he came back with the government, commodity's, a bag of rice, a bag of raisins, a bag of cornmeal, he had the look of a man who had stood in a line of men going nowhere.


He was unusually grim, and for days afterwards, he would not be himself, but somehow quieter, more withdrawn.


I suppose the only comfort he had was knowing that he wasn't the only husband and father in Germany who was having trouble taking care of his family. All of us went to whatever lengths were necessary to get the job done. We made wine at home and sold or traded it for essentials. Charles took on an ice route.


Delivering the twenty five pound and fifty pound blocks up and down the street, we picked Cole at the Slate Dump, a smoking mountain of coal waste deposited by the mine just at the edge of town. It was about a quarter mile across and three quarters of a mile long. All of the childhood images I have retained, one of the most vivid is of that ebony heap rising above the houses, steaming and hissing like a volcano. We would trudge up its crumbling sides, pick up pieces of slate, knock, knock the coal off and put it in our burlap sacks that we carried.


At the end of the day, we piled our sacks into a wheelbarrow and went downtown to sell the coal for a dime a sack.


The Slate pile was never one of my favorite places, there were cavernous, hollow pockets beneath its contours, and we had all heard of the two people who had gone to the dump and disappeared forever into its black bowels.


But somehow we survived. The town was one of several built around a collection of mines that had attracted not only the Baltic immigrants, but a lot of Scots and Irishmen as well, Sulphur Creek, a bright red steam fed constantly with a drain off from the mines, separated our town from Limerick Hill, the first of the others. The social systems that were premised on that creek were as rigid as though it were the Berlin Wall. Still, despite our differences, I never knew what they were.


We shared one common bond the mines and their wailing whistles that shrieked out at the beginning and end of the workers days, sounding for miles and miles through the hills.


And sometimes signaling the reality of death. My Uncle Joe Sherer, my mother's oldest sister's husband, died in a cave in.


At the nearby barking mine, when I was about four years old, three or four other miners were also killed in that cave in. And I remember the sound of the whistles. It was always like that back then, always some accident or Caven that killed one or two or three men, not any major disaster, as the newspapers like to say. And so it was forgotten and ignored by those who had the kind of power that would have made some difference in the condition of the mines and the dangers faced by those who worked in them.


He goes on here, he talks about the church and he and he has a father, Kelly there said, I always loved Father Kelly, but I was never sure about the church. He was a kind old man who had been a hero in World War One and had the medals to prove it. According to my father, he had been gassed.


At times, he seemed very nervous about being a priest and maybe that why he was drinking a great deal. He talks about another guy named Dr Latimer and look, I'm going into some detail here because as this story unfolds, you've got to try and figure out where he's making decisions from what who, where, where, where is his morality rooted. And it's very clear as you move through this that there's people that influence the way he thought. Another guy that influenced the way he thought as a guy named Dr Latimer.


And this guy was like the local doctor and. He kind of got to know him a little bit and one of the things he would do is give them copies of National Geographic.


And again, this is one of those things where I when you read this, you think, OK, it's when you look back, when you see the way the whole story unfolds, you look back, you think to yourself, OK, this is interesting. He says it was doc, I think, who first started impressing me with the idea that wherever people live.


They're essentially the same look at these natives, he would say, pointing at some bare breasted folks from Australia or Africa. They hunt just like you hunt, Tony, and just like your father and your brothers. The only difference is that they use a bow and arrow. They bleed if they get cut and the fathers and mothers worry about their children and they all worry about food and about dying, and they all want to live as long as they can, just like you, Tony.


The doc never went to church somehow that impressed me like my father, he seemed always to be what he was. Never any phoniness. Around him or about him? So that's again, you can kind of see this guy's developing a pretty strong moral character about other people and seeing other people as people and what the common ground is. He talks more here about Father Kelly.


He was a good priest, good in the sense that he deeply knew the people in his flock. He knew their poverty and their hopelessness and their frequent desperation. And above all, he knew how absolutely necessary it was that their individual family incomes be supplemented. That's why he showed no reservations at all about doctoring baptismal certificates.


In nineteen forty two, when I was 12 years old, he changed mine to make it read that I was 16 and thus allowed me to get a work permit and start bringing home a little cash for the family. He had done the same for my brothers, I was told, and for almost anybody else in town who had sons who were willing to work. I take it my first job when I was 10, along with Richard Knaidel. The brother of a pretty girl named Mary Grace, we worked on Mueller's farm right outside of town, and every morning at four, 30, rain or shine, Mr.


Mueller would come into town and pick us up on his little truck. We were paid a dollar, fifty a week and a gallon of raw milk. And for that, we both drove tractors, cut. We dug potatoes, fed his cattle, milked his cows. He knew what he was doing. Obviously, that wasn't helping much with the family financial burdens. And Father Kelly's forgery was an absolute necessity. Necessity. So so you have the like the under the table job, but you're not getting paid very much, so he gets this doctored birth certificate, he goes out and gets a job at this glass factory, goes into some detail about that.


He's he's working in a situation where he's wearing a full asbestos suit.


And you work he's working in a place that's so hot you're only allowed to work for ten minutes. And then it's ten minutes break. And it's not like these are a lenient labor laws.


It had to be so hot that you, like, die if you don't get a break.


So when he does that job for a while, he ends up at the Pennsylvania Railroad. He's making eighty five cents an hour. And he's doing this job where once again, there's a six hundred pound piston that's like above you. And you'd never be if it happened to fall, you were dead because you couldn't hear anything. And of course he liked football, he liked playing sports.


But he says here, I soon learned that the practice time required for high school athletics into the time I could spend in the field with my hunting and my trapping during games on Saturday, I would tie hunting dogs to the bench and stash my gun beneath it while we played.


During one of the during one of the winters in my early teens, the CalSTRS lost four of their children in one swift stroke of fate. And once again, the mine whistle told the story to the neighboring communities, one of the older brother, Harry's Harry, was a friend of mine. His two younger brothers and two sisters were out one afternoon playing on the frog ponds in the area, ponds created by the still drainage of the mines. The near zero temperatures had frozen the water to what the kids believed was a safe depth.


But the ice broke beneath them, and one by one the others plunged through and drowned to trying to effect a rescue with the courage so typical of the area, all four dead. I had never seen Harry cry before I caught his eye at state funeral home and his tears moved me to cry myself. Again, just the fact that he's talking about sort of his courage and if you think about what your job is, what most people's jobs are going to those minds every day.


He talks about another buddy of his and it doesn't really well, he doesn't explain what happened because he didn't know what happened, but somehow this kid got shot with a 22 caliber, like playing around or whatever.


He says he lived for some months, but then gangrene set in and they brought his body back to her, her many.


The funeral is set at St. Edwards, where I was an altar boy, the priest took the water shaker from me and began to sprinkle its contents on the casket. And I remember that I stood there before the altar trying to figure out at which end of the great metal box they'd placed Joe's head and which and his feet. I never really thought in terms of the dead as being punished.


It had always been a matter of living, getting their comeuppance. But that night, my mother asked me to pray for the soul of Joe, and for the first time in my life, I did offer prayers on behalf of another person. I never picked individual fights, but I never seem to have any trouble getting into them either, I guess because I was larger than most of the guys my age, a lot of them couldn't resist the challenge. I don't remember ever losing one.


So we get a good background of the guy, we get a good feel of the situation is very tough, hard work, always behind the eight ball financially, but still nonetheless tight community. Fast forward a little bit.


While I was getting started as an adolescent, my brothers were fighting the war. Chuck became an infantry officer and a company commander in Italy, and Bud, a Navy man, served as chief torpedo man aboard a destroyer that prowled the North Atlantic. Their letters were never any aid or comfort to me. Vicarious combat like books and movies and the plays had never been my cup of tea. I hadn't quite recovered from their abrupt departure from Hermione and their subsequent location in places with exotic names when they came home with medals on their chests and war stories to tell the old man on the front porch in the spring of nineteen forty four.


That's what I wanted and I wanted it badly. I still wanted to be a soldier and I knew exactly how I could do it. The military's rules be damned. The phoney baptismal certificate Father Kelly had worked for me, had worked up for me was the key. Actually, I was already getting some advice from people at work about registering for the draft. They thought I was 18 years old.


And I saw no reason to disappoint them, I went over to Erwin with my work permit in hand and told Mrs. Gongaware at the draft office that I'd just forgotten about it and needed to register. She looked at me as if I were a lowlife son of a bitch who was trying to sneak out of my duty as an 18 year old American citizen. Actually, I was a 14 year old teenager, American citizen that was trying to do my best to sneak into my duty.


I'd like to say it was all my idea, but I can't remember whether it was me or my friend Tony Basili, so him and Tony supposedly decide they're going to go enlist. They they captured they hitch a ride to til they get outside of Pittsburgh, once they get outside of Pittsburgh, we walk the rest of the way to the US post office in downtown Pittsburgh, where we both joined the US Marines. This kid's 14. The next day, the train Tony and I were riding southward through Virginia towards Parris Island, South Carolina.


It was halted in some backwoods town and we were taken off by a man who identified himself only as a federal officer. We were both impressed, if disappointed, when we when we arrived back at the Pittsburgh depot, Mr. Graysmith, our high school principal, was waiting and took us home. My father only shook his head, but my mother was glad to see me and smother me with forgiveness. I went back to my traps in my school and my job and the railroad the very next day.


I wasn't finished. However, I was only waiting. Fast forward a little bit. Three years later.


Now he's actually the right age. He goes to Tennessee, 17 years old, goes to the Marine Corps recruiting office and gets told the quote is for. Because, by the way, the war is over like the war had been over. So he missed the World War Two and he turned 17. Right. Cool. Sorry, we ain't got nothing for you. So he gets told by the Marine Corps recruiter, sorry, nothing for you. And then at that moment, a man wearing the U.S. Army's 11th Airborne patch on his shoulder sauntered into the Marines office and noticed my quandary.


Hey, kid, you want to be a paratrooper? He asked. What's that? I inquired. You jump out of planes and fight, he said. And I joined. Period. End of story.


We got you a week later in the early morning of May 9th. Nineteen forty seven. I got up to say goodbye to my folks. My father, who rose at four thirty every morning of his life except Sundays, was sitting at the kitchen table when I came downstairs, already dressed and ready to leave. My mother was puttering quietly around the stove and the large white enamel cabinet, preparing lunch for my father to take to the mine. I sat down and poured a cup of coffee into a metal cup.


I suppose my father felt it was absolutely necessary that he give me some parting advice, although he like I had no idea what being a paratrooper meant, but it was good advice. As I recall, it went something like this. The uniform doesn't mean you're a soldier. Whatever you do, don't get disgusted. Stick with it like you stick with it here at home. Remember what your brothers did. Nobody ever quit. It won't be any harder than hunting, than waiting in the creek in the wintertime.


Nothing is as hard as just getting started. It's like in the coal mines, every step takes care of itself. Then we walked out together. My mother didn't cry, I wouldn't have expected her to. Stoicism is a virtue that a coal miner's wife develops. I never remember my mother as a young woman, not that day or any other. And when my wife is 60 years old, she will be younger than my mother was. At 30, my mother waved from the porch as my father and I descended the 20 steps to the road.


His ride to the mine came by and they disappeared into the darkness. I walked to the Yreka store, caught a bus to Irwin, took a train to Pittsburgh, and then on the morning of May 10th, nineteen forty seven, I arrived at Fort Dix, New Jersey. I recall that moment as among the happiest in my life the moment I stepped off that train. And knew I was on my way to my dream. I was going to be a soldier.


So we kind of get an idea of what we're dealing with here. I think that's some important background to grab and then. We're going to go back to this other book so we can go back to the other book, The Making of a Soldier.


And what's what's what's interesting about this is he originally wrote this book. He originally wrote this book. So so the big book, The Soldier book came out. And I think I think he wrote it came out in nineteen seventy three or something like that, maybe a little bit later.


But this other book he had written it, he'd originally written a book called Conquest to Nowhere. It was just about his experience in Korea and he wrote that in nineteen fifty four and he was young when he wrote it and he explains this in the kind of in the preface to this book, he explains he was young, he had a co-author, the co-author kind of kind of ran with it a little bit more than he did. And so it ended up really not reflecting what he had been through.


So he rewrote this book later. So we're picking this up where he's at basic training. So in basic we were interviewed periodically for school assignments. My choice was infantry and I kept asking for it. I was advised each time that only an idiot would want to go infantry, but there's no way to discourage me, although I got pretty mad at being told that a soldier who wanted to fight was crazy.


One day I was about to tell the captain in a couple of lieutenants just what I thought of leaders who attempted to sell men on every profession in the army except the one it had been created for when my friend Bob Hizzy took me aside. Look, Herb. Don't let the bastards get to you if you don't accept a school, they're going to have to let you go infantry. But frankly, I think you're nuts. He was right. Not that I was nuts, but that if I held out, they would have to let me go infantry.


I did. And they did.


So after basic, because it goes through basic training, some stories about that in here, and obviously I'm fast forwarding through a bunch of the stuff you have to get these books to get the full details after basic. I called my heels for a couple of weeks with the 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Washington. All my papers were processed. Then I was sent to jump school and was graduated as an infantryman and a paratrooper.


I served a year and a half, was discharged and returned to finish school at SEC Weekly Township High in Germany. No one went anywhere in the U.S. Army without a high school diploma, so I earned mine, then reenlisted in the Eighty Second Airborne Division at Fort Bragg.


Four months later, while I was studying radio repair at Fort Monmouth, the North Koreans invaded South Korea. I was shaving when my friend Harry burst into the latrine with news that the United States was going to provide combat assistance to South Korea. My head whipped around and I sliced a notch on my chin. That passed for a dimple for a good two years. Harry and I talked it over. We made our decision. Then we made our pitch. We asked to be released from school early to go to Korea.


The commanding officer left Korea, he explained, was a zero, a big nothing. Our troops in Japan were quite capable of handling things over there, and he said it would all be over before our request could even be processed.


He's crazy. I later insisted to Harry it can't be. I wasn't going to be cheated again. I tried to go over his head. It was useless. I tried to flunk out of the course. It was impossible. The only way was to graduate. So I bore down. I took night classes. I applied myself. I was going to get out. I was going to get out of the Signal Corps completely, I was going to get out of the 80 second, I was going to get out of the United States, I was going to get to Korea and I was going to get back into infantry as an infantryman and a fight in the war.


And he. Makes a good attempt. He makes a good attempt, he makes it happen, he graduates from the school and now he is on a troop transport which take 10 days to get to Japan. Those are the longest days of my life. On the 8th, I was assigned KP.


Refused to pull it and got busted from private, first class back to private. It didn't matter. I was on my way to war and I wasn't about to arrive with dishpan hands.


Besides, who the hell cared whether I got there as a private?


He just valore that. He is full on.


We were briefed by some of the evacuated veterans of Korea who were being used to give us the real scoop before we went in. Some of it was bullshit. Bullshit. Most of it was true. A sergeant, a vet of both World War Two and Korea told the best winter's coming. He informed us. Most likely you will find it more severe than any winter you have ever seen. It's high, rugged country and bitter cold and you'll be out there in the weather.


Twenty four hours a day for months. Explained how the enemy were, they were not cowards, he said they were well-armed and they could fight. Yeah, sure, Sarge, some smart ass heckled from the back of the auditorium tell us a war story, his glance swept over us. I'm not going to tell you any war stories. You'll have your own soon enough, and some of you won't live long enough to tell them. Three days later, I was sitting ashore with orders, assigning me to the 20th air ground signal liaison in Pusan as far south as you could go.


But I hadn't come to Korea to repair radios and I wasn't about to sit out the war in Pusan, there had there were plenty of guys around who would be happy with those orders. They didn't need me. I went up to see the captain and explained that I was an infantry paratrooper and I expected to go to one hundred eighty Seventh Airborne Regimental Combat Team or back to the 2nd Infantry Division, both warring country. He scarcely heard me. He said what I'd been hearing ever since I had joined the army.


Impossible. I was humiliated and furious and stormed back to where my gear lay, piled on the wet ground, I was surrounded by troops who had been wounded and who were now returning to their units. Artillery pounded to the north. I wasn't going south. The next day, when they loaded trucks aimed north, I picked one with 2nd Division on its bumper and leaped aboard. I was a wall in Korea, you know, they all means right absent without leave.


So he's just got this cushy job repairing radios and he randomly selects a vehicle and jumps on board.


You think that's like, you know, that's that's kind of crazy. Well, look at this. The truck was a mixed bag of vets and replacements from a half a dozen dozen different countries a Korean was driving. I soon discovered that I was the only American aboard. I also learned from one of the Koreans who spoke English better than I did, that the truck belonged not to the US 2nd Infantry Division, but to the Republic of Korea Army 2nd Infantry Division.


So I first saw combat in a Korean division, but at least I was in battle.


And look, there's I could I could have easily just turned this into an audio book and read the entire freakin thing, like I it's there's so much there's so much interesting things that happen.


You kind of have to read it yourself. And I apologize.


I just don't want to do a full audio book of this because he I'm reading this things and I'll be like, why? I can't read the whole book. And then you read something crazy. This could never happen nowadays. No, obviously. No, like I mean, I guess I guess it kind of could it kind of could actually circumstances.


Hey man, you're in country. You know, you could you could you could get away with a lot. You get away with a lot because. They don't have. They don't have you know, you could you could kind of make things happen, right, just like, you know, you sneaking into a concert, you kind of act like you know what you're doing and you kind of walk past the doorman like you're going to.


You got some task that you're supposed to do if there's anything you do. So, you know, you throw your name, hey, can you put me on that manifest to get this flight up to Baghdad? You know, it's going to be like, where are you from?


I I'm from a SEAL team that's supposed to be up there. You know, name's Willink. What happened on?


I was like my you know, I was my kid was sick and I got here late. I'm just trying to get up with my unit and they're like, they're just going to hook you up.


Right? Right. Yeah. That's what we were talking to tell you.


It was either tilt or it was it might have been Dick Thompson who was like. If you volunteered to go to Vietnam, I got caught, yeah, you're you're in it wasn't like, hey, can I please go? Oh yeah. You want to go to Normcore. Oh, you want to go to Special Forces. Cool. You want to you want to go to you want to go to school. No problem. Yeah.


So it's sort of a little bit of that still like nowadays I think you could get away with some of this. It would be a little bit trickier. Yeah. Many occasional straphangers.


Rotel around country Duplo. Yeah, it's surprisingly influential when someone just sounds like and looks like they know what they're talking about. Hey, man, you know what? You know how you you know. You know how you know what someone's rank is.


They have a little patch that's Velcro on their thing.


So freaky daily stuff talking about that and stuff like make himself a make himself a lieutenant commander and he's a he'd make himself four ranks above what he actually was.


Yeah. So I mean. Yeah. And I guess. Right, I mean it's one of those things where it's like yeah. If they chose to look into it and say yeah, they could eventually find out. But if you're just, you know, raising no suspicion because you look like, you know what you're talking about, like you're not going to look into every little thing that you know, especially there's a war going on.


You're like, oh, your replacement call. Yeah. You're not like, let me see your paperwork. Yeah. Oh, by the way, when they ask for your paperwork, you say, oh yeah, you got blown up.


Yeah. And it's not like you're trying to do something that a normal person would be thinking is advantageous for you. It's not like you're saying, hey, I need to get on a plane. Did you go to Japan? Right. Or people are probably saying, hey, what we mean waiting for, you know, what you're talking about, that's not happening. But if you're saying, hey, I want to go to the front lines.


Yeah. Hey. And you're going to see his whole talk, basically, he's AWOL.


He's able this whole tour just and he does exactly what you said. He kind of shows up and gets with a company and starts working.


So he's in a way, it's almost like a crazy irony where he's AWOL, but he's AWOL because he's not AWOL is even saying he's like, yes, yeah.


He's he's bewail like, I'm going to get some he gets some wall. Yeah. You could you could get it.


I think you can get away with some of it. I mean, I know that we definitely did some. Let me give an example. We did things that were not normal, you know, maybe not a fish, you know, fish maneuvers, you know, my my sibusiso so I had CBIZ that which is construction battalion.


So they're Navy guys that do construction and they've got a really awesome historical story in that they would build airfields in World War two. And they did. And there's part of the part of the underwater demolition teams that use some of that experience from the Seabees. So there's a there's a connection there. Anyways, Seabees are Seabees, the Seabees that worked for me.


They did some stuff that was not above that was not one hundred percent, let's say authorized, for instance, we need a piece of equipment, we need a piece of gear, we need a bunch of lumber to build something.


Basically, my Seabees would figure out how to get that stuff that we needed.


And, you know, they might be trading steaks or whatever, captured weapons or whatever, just whatever random things. And here you go. They make stuff work. So there's there's definitely it's a little bit more. It's Wild West, right. You heard. Like Iraq or Afghanistan described always the Wild West out there, you hear people say that it takes a little while for the administrative things to catch up.


So when it's when you're waiting for administrative things to catch up, there's some shady activities happening. You're making some things happen.


Who's the guy? And there's a movie about it. He was like a young kid and he'd go and he'd be a pilot and he'd really like do stuff like, I don't know the name of the movie, but I know what you're talking about.


I never watched it either. But would he, like, get and fly a plane and. Yeah. Yeah, he would.


Apparently the story I didn't see the movie either, but he I remember seeing it know it was an interview he was on like like the real and say, yeah, the real guy and he's older or whatever.


But he was saying like yeah. His main thing you just act like you know what you're doing. That's all you got to do is a good one. And so he could be like this young kid, even though like straight out like someone that young will never be a pilot. Like it just doesn't happen like that. And he just act like he knew what he was doing and they'd be like EKU.


That's why they call it a con man. Right. Because you have to have this confidence level of confidence.


So he's got a level of confidence here just to jump on with a bunch of North Koreans. The reason that I went off on this tangent about not reading everything is because he jumps in.


He's in combat with these guys.


He says the first guy I was sure that I had shot bounded into the air, then dropped over a ledge before us. It was my first sure kill, but I felt neither revulsion nor a sense of power, just indifference. I had had more compassion for rabbits and deer. A guy with a rifle in his hands coming to kill me did nothing to stir my sympathy. Subsequent years of combat in Korea and Vietnam served only confirm and strengthen that feeling.


Ten minutes later, I was out of ammunition. This is his first scenario. Ten minutes later, I'm out of ammunition. Everyone else on my side had already taken off. So I picked up a wounded Korean and helped him back to where I had joined the unit. Now look what happens. He he he finds a jeep with four American guys and just kind of rolls with them because he doesn't want to be he's with Koreans, with people that aren't speaking.


You lose a few people. It's being used, but most of them aren't. And then he jumps in with them and ends up going to this replacement depot and load. He gets loaded onto a box car that's that's heading south. And then a couple of days later, he ends up where he's supposed to be. OK, so a couple of days later, we were near enough for me to make my move. OK, he gets to Pusan, so he gets back to Pusan because he's with a Korean unit.


Just want to be with the Korean unit. So he goes back to Pusan to figure out, like, OK, how can I get with some Americans? He gets back there and a couple of days later, we were near enough for me to make my move.


I stole a jeep and drove over to the twenty third they were preparing for to jump off the Yalu River. A push north designed to end the war. Headed home was the modest motto home by Christmas, MacArthur promised. Rumor has it that the Seventh Infantry Division and the Marines were already rolling north. The rocks already have more men on the Yalu, on the Yalu than the Chinese on the mainland to put it together. Someone's war. Hell, it's as good as over.


I felt a pang in my heart, but what the hell? A short war is better than none. Besides, life is full of surprises. So he steals Jeep to go and again.


Right this guys just getting after it.


The temperature plummeted to twenty below.


Again, yeah, I'm trying to figure out what to read, but you read you see that the temperatures 20 below, like, let's make sure everybody knows extra equipment and ammunition were issued. We began to feel a fever for conquest. We were going to end. The big attack was on not by us, but by the Chinese, one million strong. They came at us across the Yalu River out of Manchuria, surrounded by more than 30 full divisions.


Our attack turned into a rout.


So then this happened, so they're they're starting to kind of get beat up and sergeant comes off as we got to get more troops up here, the Turks are somewhere off close to the east. Do you know where they are, Sarge? I don't even know where we are. He ignored it. Well, I know where they're supposed to be. But I'd hope maybe you know for sure, he dropped a finger on my shoulder. I've got to send you after them.


I don't have anyone to spare. It's another lesson of war. If you don't belong to the unit, you can be spared. So he's just tagging along with these guys. And so the sergeants like, OK, well, I need somebody to go do something to you.


I'm sure I'll go. I heard myself volunteer, that was all. He didn't know any more about the Turks than I did if I found them, OK, if I didn't, that was OK to two hours later, I located their lead element. They were still heading north looking for more Chinese, which said just about all there is to say about them. Every other unit was heading south, running from the Chinese while the Turks were moving north looking for Chinese and the Chinese were desperately trying to avoid them.


I couldn't talk to the Turks and they couldn't talk to me. I tried to get across what I wanted, but it was useless. They had their orders attack north night, closed in and I stayed.


So he's supposed to go figure out what they're doing and he can't even communicate with them to get them to do what he needed them to do. So he stays with them for a while. Then he decides and fast forward, he decides he's got to leave and go back and at least tell him, hey, this is where the Turks are. I don't speak their language. And what do you want me to do next?


And in order to leave, he heads off to the north. He thinks it's going to be the best way to go. And here we go back to the book. I looked ahead and spotted about two hundred Chinese coming across the valley, not more than one hundred yards out. I dropped down behind some rocks and fallen timbers and stretched out on my belly in the snow, recalling the dead captain. That's what I opened up with. I eased my rifle off safe.


I wasn't about to be taken alive. They came straight up the finger toward me and passed. I was safe. I was ready to move again. I put my hands down to push myself up. When all hell broke loose, the Turks had opened up with everything they had and Chinese swarmed back down the hill toward me. I was halfway to my feet. It was too late to drop back down and I couldn't just stand there. I spun the rifle around and opened up on three or four nearest to me.


Weapons flew in the air and bodies went sailing past me ass over heels. I snatched up one of their burps and squeeze the trigger. A long, sharp rip, rent the air and more bodies tumbled by. As fast as I emptied one weapon, I scooped up another. I had them by the balls. I could fire anything in any direction they couldn't fire without hitting their own troops, running and milling around in confusion. Some headed back up the hill and the Turks opened up again.


When they came back down, I dropped another couple dozen. Suddenly it fell silent. It was no time for me to move. I got back down and waited.


At first light, the Turk sent a patrol to see what the score was between us. We had accounted for almost two hundred.


My foxhole buddy convinced them that I had gone out after the entire group alone and I became an AKA douche, their brother. Later, when I stood before the president, the only foreign soldier ever to receive the Turkish equivalent of the Congressional Medal of Honor.


So now he's in position with the Turks and here we go again, and I'm probably going to be saying that a lot as we read through this. Here we go again. They're in position and shit just gets crazy. The major assault came from the West and it wasn't too swift since we had the sun at our backs. Some men fought, some just froze. But the Turks rose as one man with fixed bayonets and met the charge head on about 20 yards out from the column flanks.


Steel clashing again, steel screams of pain and terror intermingling, but not a sound from the Turks. A Turk private who I came to know well and who later died, slashed across the faces of three Chinese with one great sweep of his blade, another a master sergeant who would later visit my home in the States as a hero of his nation and as an honored guest of ours, gutted to more at my side. They loved it.


But the Chinese I saw already had no stomach for it. They rooted quickly and fell back, abandoning their dead and wounded the wounded. The Turks finished off. They gave no quarter and asked none. By the way, just FYI, just so everyone knows, we're talking about bayonet battles. Jumping ahead a little bit here now there in a column, so they've they've kind of they kind of been roughed up and even though they've done some hard fighting, they're heading south.


They got lots of casualties. They're in rough shape. He's back with Americans now. As dark descended, we saw Chinese troops perched like buzzards on the heights around us. Our column froze to a halt. Ammo was low. There was no rash hand out. The few men who had rats mostly passed them to the wounded with no wire for setting up a defense. The column had to move a truck pass close to me and I fell behind it, letting my ass drag.


A little suddenly, my feet flew out from under me and I cracked my chin on the ice. I bound up fast like a novice boxer, embarrassed by a sudden, unexpected knock down. In the first round, my hands were sticky with blood. I glanced up and saw it sluicing from under the tailgate of the truck load of wounded and dead before me and freezing on the surface of the road. I remembered running behind my brother's ice delivery truck as a kid, watching water drip out as the ice melted in the summer sun.


What a waste of water. Then it hit me. Or what a waste of blood.


Glancing back into the darkness at the hills, crawling with Chinese, I realized that sometimes the alternatives were worse, so I straight myself up. 14 miles wasn't that far. Two men came beside me in the darkness. One of them had one arm gone, the other both. They needed space and one of the trucks, myself and another soldier climbed aboard and sifted through the wounded for the dead. We unloaded eight bodies and laid them at the side of the road, help the two wounded climb aboard, then dropped back again behind the truck.


Word came back again, keep the column moving or stop in place and die. So, like I said, they are they're in tough shape as they're as they're extracting in this situation. And again, they he explains how they end up there. But I can't I'm not going to read not reading the whole book, a feeling of confidence and well being washed over me. I'd make it and so would most of the others if they'd fight. We were breaking through.


Some men were beginning to rally one when one truck driver bought the farm, someone else jumped in to take up the slack. The column was moving. It was make contact, pull back, regroup, fight again and again. But we were moving. Many died needlessly, tanks and trucks plowed over them in the dark and confusion crushing dozens beneath wheels and tracks, the sounds of battle and the powerful roar of engines drowned out the screams. In the light of a flare, I saw a man's face frozen in horror, his mouth open in a sound, the scream as he went under the treads of a patent tank.


It was unavoidable. And it was Gastly. Three men were stretched out beside the road, white phosphorus searing into their dead flesh and incoming rounds struck halfway between us and I hit the dirt. When I raised up, they had disappeared and a small crater hollowed the snow where they had been. More artillery followed. And I dove into a hole made by an earlier round. There was another guy in there. Go ahead, you yellow bastard shoot me screamed I still had dirt in my eyes, I'm not a yellow bastard, I fired back and I'm not going to shoot you.


He was an asshole, I figured. Still brushing dirt from my eyes. Look, I said carelessly, meaning, God damn it, can't you see? I can't, I can't, he sobbed, I can't see anything. My eyes cleared and I saw his face a massive, searing white phosphorous. He might have been one of the three I had thought was dead or someone else who'd been hit in the same by the same round, I scooped up chunks of ice and snow and tried to clean his face.


I led him out of the hole and over to a medic. The medic lifted him onto the truck and began to tend to to his injury before the driver threw it into gear and lurched back into the column. I was still watching and wishing him well when the truck took a direct hit and disappeared. My throat was on fire. I needed water. I reached out and broke off an icicle from a passing truck. I stuck the end in my mouth and sucked on it.


It was sticky, dirty and salty. It was frozen blood. It dropped from my hands, I moved out farther onto the flank again, deeper into the darkness, only a candy ass really needed water.


Just before first light, I ambled toward the head of the column and attached myself to the lead unit, we came upon a unit that had gone before us, all of them dead and many disembowelled, like the men in the village.


A young lieutenant lay in a ditch with his leg blown off above the knee are tourniquet idiot it and loaded him onto a passing tank with some other wounded already aboard.


A couple of hours later, I found him alongside the road with a bullet between his eyes, the back of his head was gone and his brains were splattered all over his vest.


We attacked some more, took some more casualties, took our wounded and mostly left our dead behind us. We had lost three thousand men in one day of the 7000 remaining in the division. So eventually they make it back and he gets shipped to he gets assigned once again to a rear unit and they're probably trying to take care of him, thinking this guy just went through all this hell and he requested to get transferred. Like, no, I want to go to a frontline unit and what do they say, they say that's impossible.


So we waited two days, slung his rifle and went back on a wall and report it to a replacement unit handling hospital returnees. I teamed up with a couple of men from the 30th and returned to the unit, then on down to its second battalion at battalion headquarters. We were asked which company we were from. This is what you're talking about. So we get to battalion headquarters, not a battalion that he's even a part of. And they say, which country you from?


And he says, E company, I said, and was loaded on the back of a deuce and a half and delivered at company headquarters. I was assumed to be a replacement from stateside and was turned over to Dave Bernstine. A wonder from Brooklyn whom I came to cherish. You see that bridge up there? We're going to have to cross? He asked. Yes. Well, we've crossed it at least four times already, two times south, two times north.


I noticed him studying me out of the corner of his eye, they'll they'll more than likely shoot us back across it again tonight. He glanced at his watch. Usually the shit hits the fan about 10, 30. They lay on the artillery for about 15 minutes and then follow up with talk of some Chinks talk, a song that means a lot. He studied me when he said it. I felt myself come off it, man, I'm no damn rookie, I made it to country with this outfit.


He brought me up short, you reactionary. That's right, what outfit? Who the hell knows? I was a radio man. I was a radio repairman. I lied, I didn't have time to explain being AWOL, so he meets these guys, this is easy company here, Bernstine signaled again. Now he's now he's with these guys in the scene as he read. This just gives you that. I had to read this part just so you get a kind of a sense of.


Sense of who he's with and who these guys are, so he shows up. I Bernstein signal and I stood up and followed him into one of the huts inside, it was a little casino. The mud walls were covered with tapestries and silk blankets e company had liberated. When they moved into the town, there was a small fire burning in the fireplace, the mud fireplace.


There were three fifths of whiskey on a small shelf and five half empty bottles in front of five soldiers playing poker on a silk covered table in the middle of the room. One of the men, a sergeant, kept calling for bug.


That's Bugs Hoover, he's always calling for the bug aces, straights and flushes, Bernstein explained. He introduced me to the to the men with whom I would serve until I left Korea or until they died or captured. Some stood up and shook hands. Others just nodded. We watched for a bit, then left.


What are their jobs? I asked. Call me Dave, he said. McPherson's, the platoon sergeant, used to be an eighty second airborne, I think we kid him about the time he went AWOL, came back and the old man said he'd never be a soldier. That was in the States in four months. He's been here. He's gone from PFC to Master. It was the same old man who promoted him, Max. Tough, but he's a hell of a good guy.


Crandell's a squad leader. He hates war and he hates the army, but he fights. Billy Joe Buchholtz is a rifleman, a PFC from Atlanta. He's kind of new here to Brinton's a draftee. He's got kids. One of them sign some of his letters, though I don't believe he's even old enough for school. Brinton's barman Bugs is a god damn tiger. He does anything and everything that needs doing. Sometimes he's a squad leader. Sometimes he's a platoon sergeant.


He's everywhere and anywhere, wherever there's gooks. If you're a fighter, you'll like him and he'll like you. If you're not, stay the hell out of his way. Who's got the squad I'm assigned to? I asked, King forgot to mention he's a good Joe to hell they all are. He said, fling up his arms. No sense in trying to say who is and who isn't. He looked thoughtful. The amazing thing is the age average is less than twenty one, and that's including the World War two vets.


So there's a little introduction to the guy's.


Says the Chinese did an attack that night, but neither did we Bug's lost his ass at poker. Ten years after Errol Flynn and Burma, I was an honest to God infantryman. I felt damn good.


I slept well so well, here we go. They just roll. They just roll. You know, the.


You ever heard that adage? I'm sure I've said it here before, that war is a lot of waiting. Yeah. There is not waiting in this book.


There's very little because every time he seems like he's going to have to wait, he just goes along finally fighting time doing. Yeah.


Late the next afternoon we were briefed by the company commander. Still later, we were briefed by our platoon leader, Lieutenant Malinovsky, I was to go on patrol. He said he was sorry to have to send me out of my first full day in the platoon, but no sweat, no real sweat. He assured me it was only a listening post at 18 hundred hours. Dave Sauers Crandall thate a guy called Self-propelled.


That's one of the top nicknames I've ever heard in my life. The guy's name is self-propelled freakin logit. He had come to E company from an artillery self-propelled gun unit, so his name was self-propelled and myself were briefed by King who would lead. We're going to we're going a bit north for tonight to LPI five. Nothing big. There shouldn't be any trouble. We'll lay low and listen. We've all been out here before except for herbut he glanced at me.


All you have to do herbut is listen and watch for unannounced company. OK, ok, I replied. He continued briefing and made it simple, clear and complete. It's kind of crazy, right? Simple, clear and complete, that's that's my definition. My definition is simple, clear and concise. And this one is simple, clear and complete.


We moved out later. Each of us knew exactly what was expected of him and everyone else in the patrol. So there you go. That's just a beautiful briefing everybody knew was expected of themselves and of everyone else in the patrol.


These men were all business. He goes on the field now. All these men were all business, no scuffling about no talk, no bullshit. So these guys are squared away. And fast forward a little bit. These patrols continue. He briefs on some of these patrols, what they're like, what's going on. The weather's getting even colder. The the front line positions start to stabilize a little bit.


Now and fast forward to a point there on E company, easy company is in a position they're on like the knob of a hill. And we'll go to the book The Moon.


Rose Fulbright in the hills to the north glowed in sharp relief. A trip flare rocketed into the sky from the base of the hill before us and burst like a beam of light across the heavens.


We could see the enemy, a line of gray white ghosts floating forward over the snow. About two hundred and fifty yards away. The flare drifted in its shoot across our entire front shadows, climbing back around us as it disappeared, then went out. Hold fire. Hey, easy company. Why don't you go home, this is home, you fucker, go back to China. Someone yelled right back.


Still, neither side fired. That's freaking crazy, right? They're calling you by your company name, come down and fight. Someone on the other side blew a bugle and like a cavalry charge, they swarmed up the hill. The moon came out from behind the clouds and lit up a sea of humanity, racing over the bright snow toward us. They picked up speed. It was the Bonzai charge of the Japanese in World War Two all over again. We waited for their front ranks to hit the seventy five yard line and squeezed our triggers.


Nothing happened. A few muffled chinks are weapons were frozen, firing pins, immobile, immovable. Piss on them, someone said, and word came down the line, we pissed on them and it worked, the urine melted the ice and the troops all along the line began to fire.


Men shifted positions to fill where individual weapons had not been kissed on yet. I ended up in a hole with a soldier from 3rd Platoon, Herbert, I said by way of introduction. Johns, he replied, without looking up. I was. I took up a firing position and he continued to work on his rifle. A second later, he dropped down beside me and jerked two quick shots into advancing troops. Good, he said. Now let's drive the little bastards back to China.


I didn't know where Jones was from or where he was going, but he had style. Yeah, I said, let's do that. The other men in the line apparently felt the same way. We broke the assault at more than 50 yards and drove them back down the hill to lick their wounds. A kid to our right clambered out of his hole and started down the back side of the hill. McPherson was on him like a cat. Where the hell you think you're going?


He asked. To the aid station, the guy answered, I've got the chills, kid. Mac told him it's thirty below zero. We've all got the chills. Get back in that hole. I'm going back to battalion, the kid shouted, almost crying. I'm freezing. Mac leveled his car being Get back in your hole. I don't have time to argue his finger. Squeeze the slack from the trigger. Get back in that fucking hole now.


The kid turned and with head hanging, moved off in the dark, we heard the thought of his boots as he jumped back down into his hole, the bugle sounded again. This time they came up the hill and battalion strength. But this time all of our weapons worked. Whoever had come up with the pistol technique deserved a Congressional Medal of Honor. We piled the bodies on top of one another. All along the front, my bar began to overheat and the smell of cordite and urine seared my nostrils.


Flares popped overhead again, lighting up the slope below and the valley beyond. The Chinese were everywhere, like ants. They were coming in and waves. It was a standard tactic with them. The first wave was light. It was meant to draw fire so they could note and pinpoint our positions of our automatic weapons. The second wave was to knock out our automatic weapons and overrun us or at least wear us down so the third wave could finish us off.


This time, however, three waves couldn't be enough and they seemed to know it as well as we did.


They'd come prepared. Their leaders were pros and seldom underestimated who they were up against. They knew that any unit prepared to pay the price could overrun any position. These guys always came ready to pay that price, Johns was killed in the third assault. I laid his rifle and ammunition beside my own on the edge of the position. Then, as an alternate, as an afterthought, I extracted his bayonet from his scabbard and fixed it to his rifle. I was ready.


I talked my boots beneath his body to keep to keep them warm. But he was already cold. It was going to be a long night by the fifth wave.


The Chinese had paid the price the hillside before us was littered with their dead and wounded, we sustained about 40 percent casualties ourselves. Ammunition was almost non-existent. The artillery had ceased to fire in our support. The last of our wounded were already on their way toward the rear, walking wounded, carrying the dead and incapacitated.


The sixth wave hit. And the order came down to fall back to cover the wounded. I leaped out of my position, no one had come by to pick up John's I checked his body. The round had caught him smack in the forehead above his left thigh. The back of his head was gone. I slung his rifle over my shoulder, locked his cartridge belt above my own, and joined the rest of the men at the base of the hill.


We came to a road which led back across the bridge. Our battalion commander, Colonel Skelton, was rounding up units and reorganizing them for a counterattack. His driver was besides a trailer tagged on to his jeep, passing out ammo. When we were ready, scaled and led us back up the hill. He had done so efficiently and so quickly that we caught the six wave not yet ready to defend. Within minutes, we were back in our positions, consolidated and ready.


First light was breaking and the Chinese pulled back.


We gathered up the rest of our dead, John's went back down the hill in a mattress cover. Sauers and Tate dead, went along with them. The Chinese had outnumbered us at least ten to one. They had weapons and guts. They had been willing to pay the price. But so would we. You know, when they get to wave number five, you're thinking, wow. And that's not it. Here comes wave number six. And and the reason that you can't stay there is because you're out of ammunition.


Forty percent loss had caught us down far below combat strength, we were ordered into reserve reserve.


It's a powerful word in a combat zone. It's a full night's sleep in a couple of days you're almost certain to live through.


It's time to catch up to get your bearings, bearings and a time to find out how the war is going for the rest of the division for the rest of the army, since a man in combat doesn't have much opportunity to look around him. We had fine weather. The sun broke through and the frozen earth became a quagmire. Replacements came in and were assigned to fill the gaps. Day after they arrived, E company went into heavy combat training. We reviewed attack formations and procedures, defenses, withdrawals, marches and counterattack.


We practiced until every one of them understood what was expected of them. Under all conditions, we laid down the standard operating procedures which had worked for us in the conditions of this war.


Good training cuts, losses, and we intended to cut our losses to a minimum. We trained and we trained hard. We got a few supplies by air drop, sometimes those came in with mail from home and all training would grind to a halt. Mail was considered a morale builder. Personally, I disagreed, I didn't write much and didn't expect to get a letter. I got them, of course, but they didn't mean much to me. Home was too far away.


What happened in Easy Company 30th Infantry Regiment was more important if you kept your mind on where you were, the war was easier.


If you let your thoughts drift to things that no longer existed for you, then you were in trouble. Letters I read quickly, sometimes skipping entire paragraphs, and I got rid of them, the packages I broke open immediately and shared their contents on the spot, I consumed my portions on the on the hoof and forgot them.


It's good advice, man. It's good advice. I mean, I was like Ghannam.


My cousin, a platoon, and it was before the war, is just like a normal deployment back in the day and I remember there was a guy, you know, like, you know, one of the guys was married, you know, had a girlfriend or whatever. And I remember seeing him, he was just he was staring at a picture of her.


And I just remember thinking that he was torturing himself, right, and driving himself crazy, and it made no sense to me and I remember that I was like a young, you know, single guy at the time. So I made a mental note that that's not a good way. That's not a good thing to do. Right. Fast forward a little bit, then suddenly and simply, Malinovsky notified us that thirty first and third battalions were caught in a pocket and we were moving up north to give them a hand.


The good news is this time we ride scientist trucks by Squad Malinovsky deployed US squads abreast each squad to maintain. This is when they get obviously they get to their fighting positions. Each squad set to maintain itself and calm until we closed in for the assault. Then we'd move up shoulder to shoulder, side by side to take up marching fire. We topped the ridge and descended toward the valley that separated us from the burning, smoking mass that was Hill five fifty for our objective.


The planes banked off in a way as we started across the valley. Artillery screeched in to take up the slack, small arms fire from the Hill cracked overhead, and Mal gave the order to pick it up and get a move on. Chinese artillery came alive now in the ground beneath my feet, rolled and heaved like the deck of a ship on a raging sea. Smoke, fire and steel split the air like a tornado, and the crack of heavy artillery pounded my ears.


Suddenly, I was through it at the height of the near bank of a small stream facing a 40 foot drop to the far side, a machine gun opened up from the hill ahead, the rounds whizzing past my ears and splitting the air above me.


And I leaped. I sailed down onto the far bank, my boots driving through the frozen crust into the deep cold mud, pulling myself free, I bounded forward into the next heavy cloud of smoke. The ground heaved, the ground sloped steeply upward. I had reached the base of hill five fifty four. I shoved my body selector to automatic finger on the trigger, my eyes straining to pierce the smoke. I began to ascend the hill cautiously. Somebody broke through to my right.


My finger tightened and I damn near dropped him. It was Dave without a glance toward me. He crossed in front of me and disappeared into the smoke. The cloud blew away for a second and I saw him. Clearly, both sides called off artillery and shouts came along the hill to keep it moving and keep going forward. I hadn't fired a shot yet. Someone yelled grenades as they began to burst below and around us.


Bug shouted Open up and the line came to life sporadically at first. And then with a marching steam stream of steady fire as men found their places in the line, anything in front now was enemy or dead. I squeezed off one shot, then waited. Firing blind went against the grain. My father had taught me too well. I held fire. But then I saw that the tactic was sound. We were driving them back. Bodies tumbled out of the smoke above down the hill below past me.


I switched the selector to automatic rapid, a wisp of smoke cleared in front of me. And there he was, burp gun. The works. His face was a mask of shock. He fired first and rounds ploughed into the ground in front on both sides of me and over my head. I dropped the bomb to the bar until the barrel aligned itself with the slope of the hill, the muzzle level with his gun and squeeze the trigger. Little puffs of smoke and dust billowed from his uniform and drove his body back against the hillside.


The weapon he carried flew from his hands past me down the hill. Chinese voices above were screaming in the smoke. I continued forward and picked up the pace as I stepped past the body, I just dropped that, glanced down. He was dead, all right. I attempted an entire magazine into him. I wasn't as cool as I had figured. I released the Empty magazine and was inserting a new one. When one of his buddies broke through the right front.


I swung around. He was a kid. He dropped his rifle, then changed his mind and made a dive for it. But he was too late. I seeded the magazine with a crack on my palm, slammed the bolt forward and squeeze the trigger. His head disintegrated. I grabbed this rifle, pointed it up the hill and emptied it into the smoke. Then I smashed it against the hillside and dropped the pieces. I restarted my rifle in both hands and continued up.


This time I knew I had fired four rounds, there were still 16 in the magazine. I had calmed down another body broke out of the smoke above me. My finger tightened on the trigger. It was bugs. Let's go. We shouted. We're almost there. I caught up with him.


King had been hit. Who else didn't know who else he didn't know yet? There were about six of us still on the line, but the enemy was pulling out. The hill was ours shoulder to shoulder. We marched those last few yards. We were the first two to reach the top. Within minutes, the remainder of the platoon moved up alongside our squad have been cut down to four men. Not a major action. It was just another hill for which we had paid the price.


But it cost the Chinese dearly to their dead, lay scattered all around, we had done well, we had one. Then suddenly, as if turned by the hand of fate, our own artillery seemed to bounce back in flight and begin falling onto our own positions, it was impossible for the Chinese to have spotted and called encounter fire so quickly, but ours are theirs. Death was the same in a world of lightning bolts and thunder clapping around us.


The earth underneath our boots blew up like a volcano. McPhearson, a few yards in front of me, rocketed up into the sky like a doll, like a dawn hurricane, and came down hard. And that was it. As suddenly as it began, it was over. I crawled over to Mach chunks of ice and debris raining down on us and my mouth tasted like copper. Pennies, bastards, he grimaced. Dumb, stupid asshole bastards. Those were our tanks.


He was shaken, but his only real wound was a chunk of shrapnel behind his right knee. He was out of it. He was stateside for sure. Carboni and Carbone's the medic came up and we try to compress around the wound with the shrapnel still inside. You're going home, Mac Carbone said softly. I lifted him across my shoulder, careful of the knee, and we made it back to the platoon. There'd be no evacuation until their artillery let up and we already had eight wounded besides Mac.


The platoon was down to twenty one and Carboni was the biggest, busiest man in it. We called back for Laeter teams and blankets, but it was no easier getting things up than it was getting them back. So we waited. All night came.


And the incoming stuff lifted, we said our so longus told Mac that he had made it and was headed home for parades and kisses.


Just to get home to see the family will be enough, you guys have my address, see you to the walking wounded pick up, picked up his litter and fell behind. The others headed down the slope. We sat down and watched them wind their way towards the trail in the valley below six, walking wounded Mack and the other guys on litters. It was all we could spare in November, even the walking wounded would have had to stay on and fight, so things were improving a little.


They disappeared in the rocks below and into a minefield. Seconds later, Mac and three others came running out of the rocks and back up the hill, men ran to help them. The other five were dead. They left the bodies and brought Mack and the others back up to the ridge, the wind picked up again and it began to snow. Everyone was too tired to waste energy digging in. We shielded the wounded with our bodies to keep them warm.


Halfway through the night, a Chinese unit passed us by by morning, we were surrounded again by afternoon. The tanks had gotten through to us and we were able to evacuate the wounded.


So Mac was on his way once more. But our destinies are cut elsewhere. There was no escape, at least for Mac. He had survived the shrapnel, one light piece behind the knee from a hit close enough to destroy a tank, he'd escape the minefield. We were no longer trapped. He was on his way again and home was but a short way off. Then our tanks made another one of those errors so common in war that most people never hear about.


One tank had not received the word and fired one shot by mistake into the small band of wounded men. It was a direct hit. And Mac. The other three wounded and the two we had sent to carry the litter were blown to bits. Bitterness swept through me. I sat down in the snow and stared numbly into the distance. The hills here still white and blue, but they look dirty.


The sky was a swirl of muddy clouds. I let my head hang for a second or two and just stared at the frozen ground between my boots. Just little ridges of frozen mud with a light dirty snow coating the edges. The war had lost its glamour. Later, at the base of the hill, I raised hell with the tank commander out of frustration and grief, it had been a legitimate mistake on his part.


One of the sergeants came over and apologized, I'm sorry you said it was my fault. It's war, I interrupted. It's nobody's fault. I had lost my first true friend in Korea. So the the the horrible blue on blue. Something that everyone in the military, everyone in the police should think about all the time. I promise you. When things get crazy, it is. Way more likely than you might think. This is an interesting part here, he says the army introduced rotation individuals with time could go home, replaced by new men, quote, starting their tours.


There was a reward before the end of the rainbow, a way out of war short of winning. It was the worst plan the Army had ever put into effect. Men became cautious, they did their time and stayed alive. Soldiers no longer belong to a unit. They served in one until they completed a tour, then served in another. It was the beginning of the end. The purpose of all living is death, I had read once. Loyalty, courage and comradeship lent nobility to that purpose.


In a very short time, our army and our country would come to reap the fruits of depriving their soldiers of that nobility of purpose.


Those of us. Who are stuck with the old principles begin to view ourselves as different. And counted each rotation as a loss. Yeah, you know, in World War Two, you know, when you came home from war, when we won and some guys were two, three, four years and I mean, just think about what that does to your mindset.


Just think about what that does. I only got only got four more months. I only got eight more months. One day at a time. I could get through this day. Mm hmm. Fast forward a little while, a couple of days later, I got nicked in the wrist, six of us were on patrol down along the bank of a river.


Spent one night in the aid station where they showed me up and filled me with drugs to prevent infection. The next morning I returned to my platoon. Now, the officer wanted me to go back to the marsh for a couple of days to make sure I was OK. We compromised of complications set in or I began hurting. I'd go back. That was that. He's just getting wounded and just doesn't care.


This is a little later I was going to I was going to do get some shuteye, but I never had the chance. Heavy stuff whistled in right on us. In the middle of my sentence. I had a large gob of white phosphorous landed on my left forearm and begin sizzling on its way to the bone. So we both spent the rest of the day packing my arm with cold mud to prevent the phosphorus from getting oxygen while we dug out chunks with our knives.


Then I went to the aid station to have the wound cleaned and sewed, getting wounded was becoming an annoying habit.


The good news was that I got another night at the old aid station to sleep in a tent fairly dry on a litter which kept my ass out of the mud. It was almost worth getting hit for a night of uninterrupted sleep. No posting of Outpost's, no being awakened every 30 minutes or so because somebody wanted me on the radio or the sound tower. No taking turns. War has a way of reducing life to the basics and bringing home what the true comforts in life are.


Uninterrupted sleep is one hell of a comfort. Cool water to drink is another. A dry bed, a hot cup of coffee, a cigarette.


If you're a smoker, I guess. I'd seen enough dying men ask for one to make me believe it was for some a shot of whiskey. Fast forward Chinese troops reported massing about 2000 yards north of our permit positions and armed recon patrol is needed to check it out. Approximately fifteen hundred yards out, a sniper's bullet caught me in the upper right arm, slug went in, wrapped around the bone. It was like a hammer blow to the funny bone, but it didn't do much damage.


The medic put a compress on it. We drop down off the hill to put it between us and the sniper. This time they sent me all the way back to the MASH. By late evening, a surgeon had removed the bullet and told me I'd be evacuated to the rear in the morning, get a good night's sleep, he said. Shortly after midnight, I called from the marsh and hitched a ride on a truck convoy convoy back north to unit.


I reached a platoon at noon just in time for C rations, he's using a wall as a verb now like fire wall.


Well, there's got to be a better term for that, for what he's doing like.


Carbone's replacement, a medic named Ryan, had been assigned to the platoon and picking a new sergeant had joined us again. Was like, you know, you get to these points you take out.


I really need to go over that. You know, should I read this part? And then it just teaches you. Teaches you.


Pickens, a new sergeant, had joined us. No one was certain whether you'd served in combat yet or not, but he was a master sergeant that outranked me and I figured he must have had something on the ball that made to make rank. I went to meet him. He looked like a sergeant, meet, trim and in shape. He wore his uniform well and his gear was in order. He talked like a sergeant, no bullshit. And he gave orders like a man who knew his stuff.


Dave didn't like him one more gun as one more gun, I told him not always her, he replied, then change the subject. He didn't want to talk about it. It was an odd remark and an odd way for Dave to act. He was no dope and he said something was worth listening to. What he what had he observed that I had missed? I studied Pickens carefully. For the next few days, nothing occurred to change my evaluation.


In fact, everything he did just seemed to confirm it.


He had bearing command, presence, intelligence training, the works. He was going to be a real asset to the company. Dave was wrong. Anyone could make a mistake. Pickens and I supervise the digging in and the preparation of the defense. He was great at weapons and placement. By the end of the day, we had a tight line that could throw up a wall of steel on command.


Something big was brewing on the Chinese side, Pickens decided we needed more tactical wire to our front. He went to the reader himself to go pick it up. It was dusk and the sky was calm and beautiful and that kind of interesting, right, like you feel something brewing on the Chinese side and this guy decides he's going to go to the river. Dave is thinking, hey, this guy might not be all he's cracked up to be. He seems a little too little too maybe a little too squared away.




A little while later, Jennings whistled to me, hey, her mouth wants you on the sound power. I went over and took the phone from Jennings, Sergeant Herbert, sir, Herb, get the troops back in their holes. All hell is going to break loose in a minute with my mother here, I could hear planes coming in on the dive. Men started running for the positions before I even had time to shout. The planes dropped their ordnance right overhead.


I watched the canisters tumble down through the sky, out over our heads and crashed through the trees only a few hundred yards before us. Malinovsky was still talking. The valley is loaded with gooks. He was saying, Get the men ready full alert. Notify the OP to be ready to pull in fast when they get the word. Where's Pickens? Wilko Pickens went back for a while and hasn't returned yet. I said, OK, it's your baby.


Stay in contact. Roger that.


Out. This time we had the men and ammunition, we had wire and we had land mines and booby traps out, our fire sectors overlapped along the entire front.


This time they wouldn't be able to afford the price. I looked up at the planes, lay off, guys, I muttered to myself. Let them come in and give us a chance. I felt good, I went along the line briefing in each position. I just like underlined the section here. This is his brief to the troops. Nobody moves out of position unless I give the word know who's on your right and left. Keep all gear on fixed bayonets.


No one throws grenades until you're certain they're in range. Remember, you can hear a lot further than you can toss a frag, make shots, count, don't waste ammo, keep up a good rate of fire. If word comes down to fire, each man lays his rifle against the steak we put it in and fire steady at a rapid rate on that line, all fires interlocking until I pass word to fire at will across the entire sector. Don't forget, the tendency at night is to fire too high, keep aim low, we'll creme them.


We have fast resupply from the rear when ammo starts to get low. Don't panic, there'll be more coming. Tonight belongs to Easy Company. Good to go tonight belongs to Easy Company, and it did for six waves. The first five we chopped to pieces. We would have done the same for the sixth, seventh or tenth, except that some asshole back at Company Rear hadn't done his job. Ammunition was running low by the fifth wave.


Moore was supposed to be on the way, but King called back to Malinovsky and learned that the company headquarters had withdrawn. There'd be no resupply tonight. The Chinese had broken through on the right flank where the Dutch who had been tied in with us had already pulled out.


We were on our own, then the phone went dead around, had severed the wire or had been cut, I told King to alert the platoon to be ready to pull out back down the hill to the point where we had previously designated in case we were overrun. I picked up bugs from my from the hole to my left, and we moved east along the back of the ridge to make contact with Malinovsky or to find out what had happened to the wire.


We were still moving when all hell broke loose as the sixth wave hit and came in over the wire and over there dead. Next thing I knew, I was fighting hand to hand for my life.


The little mothers were everywhere bugs and I killed about 12 of them before between us, before we got enough opening to get the hell out. Let's go, he shouted. We were bound. We and we bounded down back the side of the hill like two Fabares toward where our company command post had been. There was nothing but fog. Either we were the last ones or the first. We dropped down behind a log and tried to assess the situation. From here on, we'd play it safe.


There was no telling who was behind us. Even our own troops would be edgy and friendly. Fire kills the same as enemy. The rest of the platoon had either gotten out or they were dead or captured. Let's get going, said Bugs. The Chinese had pretty well halted the ridge halted at the ridge. It was unlike their previous attacks when they had to be stopped by fire. The shooting petered out behind us, we moved off into the fog approximately forty five minutes later, we tied up with the loose troops from other parts of the company who had assembled at the designated spot.


I tried to find out about the platoon. The company commander had been hit and evacuated. Malinovsky had been catching grenades on the right flank and throwing them back at the Chinese when one of them had gone off in his hand. He was in serious condition but alive and had been evacuated. Nobody knew about Dave A. Jennings and the rest except they they had been ordered to pull back. That made me the platoon leader and Lieutenant Canning, the commanding officer.


They eventually make a move to get out of there and it goes relatively well, except for the fact that as they're approaching friendly lines, again, they realize that they're in a minefield.


They make it through the minefield and then they end up going back out and they're in another hill on another hill again.


We sat waiting silently, dawn lit up the sky and the sun started up over the hills behind us, light crept across and down forward of the slope.


Now we could see movement. There were hundreds of them. They had evidently come in right behind us when we've been driven from our positions the preceding night. Now they were halted regrouping. I tried the sound power to notify first battalion headquarters, but just couldn't raise anybody. On the other end. I sent Jennings back as a runner. Some 60 millimeter mortar light stuff started to puff in the air around us.


The Chinese suspected that someone was on the hill.


They might have spotted us or the men we had relieved. We continued to watch and held our fire for the next two hours.


They dropped 60 millimeters on us, but did no damage. Our air came up out of the sun and made one orbit overhead, Jennings must have gotten the message back to battalion. The planes peeled out of audit orbit, diving one after the other. The Chinese below held formation. Canisters of napalm tumbled down, scattering flame and twisted metal among their ranks. Still, they held. A bugle sounded loud and clear from the midst of the carnage, and they came charging up the hill.


Now, I shouted, sighting along the barrel and squeezing the trigger of the rifle fire cracked in my ears from both sides as the rest opened up with me. Our planes banked from east to west and the remaining canisters fell, cutting deep swaths and the ranks of the Chinese. But they kept on coming, they had manpower and they had guts, we were butchering them, but from their front line, it kept getting closer. When one went down, another replaced him, are planes empty of ordnance banked off?


S bugs pass word that Amma was running low by sight. I measured the distance to the nearest line of Chinese and squeeze the trigger and one last burst before giving the order to move out. The teams pulled out from right flank to left on order, each following in falling in behind the one passing from its right. Crandall and I went last to bring up the rear. My calculations had been accurate. We were able to pull back down the hill, across the saddle and up into First Bat's positions without drawing fire.


What's more, we had done a lot of damage to the Chinese as we passed through the pass through their lines, the men of 1st congratulated us and asked our names. I felt like one hell of a tiger. The major congratulated and thanked us. You guys can serve in this battalion any time. It was a top compliment, I shook his hand, saluted and reminded him we had to get back to our own unit. There was no transportation available as yet, he told us.


But tomorrow I said we could have it and I move the patrol out behind me without waiting for an answer or looking back, Jennings met us down the road and he had been nicked by a piece of shrapnel.


But he could walk and he didn't relish staying behind. We hitched a ride with a deuce and a half headed southwest. Had I known the outcome for us, I might not have been such a hurry to get back. Canning was the only officer left alive in the company.


Counting us, he commanded exactly 90 enlisted men, Pickens was gone, this is that sergeant we were talking about. Pickens was gone. According to Canting, he had been avoiding combat ever since he had arrived. I was the only one who had noticed the day after we had come off the hill, Canning forced him to take out a patrol. They were creamed. Pickens came back ranting about being thrown needlessly into the jaws of death and sank to the ground, babbling, canning how to had him evacuated, combat fatigue, he laughed.


Isn't that a pisser? Anyone in the patrol dead, I asked, ate any of my men, third platoon, he tipped them off, Kyle Fritz Moon Song, Donovan Shoemaker, Benson, Contini and Davis. And Moon Song, the old ranks were cut down by two more. You're the platoon leader of 2nd now until an officer gets in. I acknowledged I understood it was temporary. As long as I'm here with some say so, he declared, we'll see.


I thought I was no officer. Malinovsky had told me he was. I was a sergeant, but I had never seen any promotion orders. I led whatever men I was assigned, wherever I was ordered to. I was still an AWOL and it would be funny as hell if I were still a private.


There were no paydays for me. My name was never on the payroll. The records were delayed in the rear. They said I never contested it. What would I have done with money? The platoon numbered eighteen men counting me. We had one machine gun operating, no rocket launchers. It amounted to no more than a heavily reinforced rifle squad. But what the hell? Ninety men wasn't a company either. Yep, still a wall. Yeah, and like replacements are coming in, but they're not getting there fast enough.


Now, we're going to fast forward a little bit and once again, they're on another hill. All the chatter on the other side ceased about at the same time.


There wasn't a sound for a few minutes.


Then rustling in a few whispers, some rocks broke loose and tumbled down the slope.


They were crawling up the hill, no bugles this time. Psychological warfare between the second division in the Chinese was over. We had become a seasoned unit. They knew it and we knew it. They were determined to get in close and destroy us.


We were just as determined to let them getting close so we could destroy them.


In a very few minutes, both sides would face the moment of truth. This was Burma and I was better than Errol Flynn. No blanks, no bullshit. I was not an actor, but a U.S. infantryman.


I could beat any enemy that lived. We sat and we waited. I could hear myself breathe as I strained my ears to measure the distance. Then bam!


The entire slope beneath us was lit up, beams bounced off the clouds above and ricocheted down the hillside, artificial moonlight, I glanced hurriedly around and discovered Buck Dixon and myself to be in the keyhole of a long finger leading up from the valley at the crossbars stem of a junction of tea.


I glanced down the stem. And there they were. They moved forward towards us in the eerie light, like Walking Dead in a cheap horror film, I pulled the pin from an M 17 frag and sent it sailing down the finger. The explosion drove four bodies up and forward into the air, arms, heads and legs flailing like marionettes whose strings had parted. The light of the explosion went out and I didn't see how they landed. A second later, we could make out about 10 more towing a machine gun on wheels.


Buck let fly this time taking out both gun and crew. So far, the score was a US about 14 or maybe 20. Counting the advance element. Chinese nothing.


A shutout which didn't hold for long, but the next group that broke out of the woods to our front wasn't any lead element or single machine gun crew. It was a whole damn army all along our front, our men opened up all along the line, bodies tumbled along the entire slope before us. A whistle blew once.


And just as suddenly as we had poured onto them, they returned it to us. A wall of solid steel drove into our own positions. Now two grenades landed in our hole, and Buck scooped them up and flung them back down the hill. Three more landed and he did the same. This hole's too damn big dicks and shouted and they got a spotted. Another grenade came sailing through the air towards US bailout. I yelled and all three of us cleared.


The position is one. Two seconds later, the grenade went off inside with a loud womp and Dixon had gone right me left.


I rolled over on my stomach, smack up against self-propelled. He had a shelter half stretched out on the ground. It was field stripping a machine gun on it methodically and unhurriedly, as if you were giving a demonstration. He hardly glanced at me. Keep them off me her until I get this mother working, three Chinese raced up and emptied their weapons into the hole we had just left. Buck was reloading his carbine. Get them yelled. But Dixon fired first, blowing the head off the guy on the right.


I dropped the other two, then ran my bayonet into one. As he tumbled by me, a grenade exploded among us and I felt myself flung backward down the hill. Chinese broke over the top of the ridge. A bayonet slashed my upper right arm down the hill. Men screamed all along the line, but grabbed me and yanked me to my feet. Let's go, man, he shouted. Another grenade went off behind us, propelling the three of us ass over heels down the rear slope.


Buck jumped back to his feet. First, a body broke out of the smoke above us. Self-propelled, I shouted, Son of a bitch! The figure shouted back a grenade in his hand. Buck tore his head off with a burst of about twenty motherfucker, he said, hardly raising his voice above a whisper, whisper. Visit your ancestors.


We fought our way down the valley, as far as we could tell, we were alone, but the Chinese were all around us in the melee. We got separated. Bruce and Dixon went one way, me another. I rounded up Bush and stumbled into Ryan and King.


Let's go, I said, and started back down the valley toward the town. We're heading the wrong way, Ryan argued. I fired back. This is it. The artificial moonlight went out, suddenly leaving us in darkness with much of our night sight shot. I held us up for a bit to let our eyes accommodate a bullet passed through my left leg just above the ankle. I could walk, but my arm was getting a little stiff.


I noticed King was limping. You hit? I whispered about three times. No broken bones, though. You, Ryan. Nothing, he whispered, hope. A voice snapped sharply in front of us guys. I whispered back, OK, come on in. There were seven of them that made ten. So just to debrief what just happened, freaking insane mayhem is what just happened. These guys are getting attacked by the Chinese. They get pretty much overrun.


They all bail out of the positions. They kind of fall back in the direction of the last known area that they think they could go to, which is this town on the way. They're getting separated and re linking up with other guys. And then finally they link up with seven other guys. So now we have ten of them. One of them suggested we take off down the riverbed. Ryan wanted to hole up in the brush until daylight. I next both suggestions we'd go into town as a patrol.


There had to be other elements of the regiment there.


The decision made I moved up front to take over. We had one more contact with the Chinese machine gunner whom we bypassed in the dark, either because he was dead at the gun, asleep or confused. Three members of the patrol dropped off on their own and headed down the riverbed. Ryan disappeared and showed up three years later as a returned P.W.. The remaining six just losing guys. Guys are just dropping off. The remaining six of us made it into the town, out of the frying pan, into the fire.


We just broken through to battalion headquarters, which was surrounded.


A major was in charge. I recognized him as a regular Heller. He talked tough, looked tough and was tough. How many of you are there? He asked crisply. Six. It's a help, not a division, but a help. A radio crackling nearby informed us that there was no way to break through to us until daylight. They wanted us to hold the major returned. We don't have enough ammo left. In last to last an hour, a flare burst above us caught caught us standing there in the open.


Here we go again. The major shouted and rushed past us toward the paddy on our east for lack of any place better to go. We followed, dropping down into firing positions just in time to catch about three or four hundred enemy crossing the paddy toward us at a trot. Guns spewing.


Three or four hundred. We were next to a machine gun, and between us, we laid down a field of fire that cut them down like a sky mowing wheat. Not a single one of them reached the perimeter. How long has this been going on? I asked one of the gunners all night. We let them pull back their dead and wounded in the low. We introduced ourselves to each other. Their names were LaRock and McCleod. Neither one seemed any more distressed or nervous about the situation than I was.


They went about their business coolly and professionally, making adjustments in the headspace of their weapon, getting more boxes of ammo ready and joking with each other and with us.


Remember the message out of Baton and World War Two when the when we were being overrun, Laroque Joshed send more Japs. A young lieutenant came up behind us and introduced himself hurriedly, names Ben Kowalsky, he made a quick pitch we can break out and some of us will make it. He looked me in the eye. Are you for it? I nodded. The rest of you guys, they nodded, too.


So there's a plan we can try and get out of here, and some of us might be able to make it OK, Bankowski said.


We're going to muster at the south edge of the village on order. When they make the next assault, we'll meet them head on. Got it. Got it, McLeod echoed. The rest of us nodded. He turned and raced away. I sat down to think I'd always heard that when your time came to die, your life flashed before your eyes. I tried to summon it, but got nowhere. My mother, father and all those things were too far away.


I thought of some things I should have done differently, but not too many. I should have kick some ass as I didn't, and I should have said some words to some people that I didn't. If I made it out, I'd never make those mistakes again. If I made it out. If not, then I'd take as many of them with me as I could. My thoughts were interrupted by the word coming down to assemble at the south end of the village.


No sooner would we be there when the flare broke overhead, lighting up the entire column, a machine gun opened up from the road directly in front of us. Son of a bitch, Binkowski mumbled. We got to get that gun. Got to get that gun. The words echoed through my brain. Two, maybe three lousy guys weighing less than one hundred and fifty pounds, each holding up the entire US Army bullshit. Life was OK, but not that OK.


I scrambled to my feet and raced forward. Another guy came up with me step by step and we headed south down the road together, covering for the first 30 yards side by side. Then there was this sickening thud of high speed metal whacking into flesh. As I as my companion went down beside me at just the moment I spotted the gun position. I was twenty yards off, it's twenty yards out and slightly off to the right. And I managed to get within five yards of the gun before they spotted me and into the hole with them before they could squeeze off around.


They were kids. My bayonet ripped through the chest of the gunner, driving them up against the back wall of the position, pulling it loose. I beat the second man to death with my rifle, but bayoneted the third, then took a bayonet in the side myself from the fourth as I drove the bus down into his skull, which jerked the rifle from his hands and snapped the bayonet off inside my chest.


Bastard, I hissed as I pounded his skull. One more time for good measure.


My buddies were streaming past me, I leaped out of the hole and joined the rush a second later to Chinese flyways, pounced on my back. I reached back to grab some hair and picked up a fistful of teeth.


I stumbled and fell, and the three of us went down Helter Skelter. I bounded back up alone and was off again. Flares burst off above us. Lightning lighting the sky with flame grenades were exploding all around. Men were screaming on both sides. Then we were in the midst of the Chinese running parallel to the river. The major tripped in front of me and went down. I reached down to pull them up. Go on, get out, save yourself, he shouted at me, thrusting his pistol up into my hand.


Here, take it. He was a small man. I yanked him to his feet and threw him across my shoulder. We crossed the river.


And we were out of it. Some men lifted the major from my shoulders, there were 11 of us, Bankowski Zalm hung limply at his side. Only one of us, a sergeant from the 1st Ranger Company, had come through without a scratch.


Another mile down the road, we met the unit on its way up to break through to us. There were men from Easy Company with it. My legs were a little rubbery, young male chick, another Pennsylvanian raced with me back to the aid station.


The doc took one look at me and said, The war's over for you, soldier.


You're on your way to the states. Young said goodbye. See you back home. I waved my hand at him, seeing a couple of days. Man, the major asked me to write my name down. He was going to put me in for the Medal of Honor. I picked up the scrap of paper from one of the field clerks and wrote Herbert on it and handed it to one of the medics.


I laid down on a litter and fell asleep. Yeah. Crazy. I think what's that, he's been wounded with a bayonet three times, including one that gets broken off in his chest.


Mm. An ambulance left me at the 11th evac hospital unit where they took the out the bayonet, took out the shrapnel, took out the slug, then tagged me for Japan and further evacuation to stateside. But I didn't mean to go home yet, I begged the docs to let me recuperate where I was, I swore I felt fine, but they said it was impossible. I needed rest. Besides, there were rules. There had been internal bleeding and I had lost a lot of blood.


One of them suggested that I volunteer to come back in a few months. In short, the answer was no.


I could stay at the 11th long enough to see Jennifer Jones, who has arrived the next day, the day after I would be evacuated first to Japan, then to the states.


Jennifer came in the morning and shook hands with each of us. The doctor told her my story as if I were a hero and she invited me for steak when I got back home. She was beautiful. She was real and down to earth. She was going to have dinner with the wounded men that night. But I miss dinner when she came back, I slipped out a different exit. I talked to Sergeant at Supply to letting me have some fatigues and a rifle.


Then I hitched a ride north and returned to my unit wound, still draining.


I told them at Battalion that the docs had said to have the medic change the dressings periodically and give me shots when I needed them. The wounds were to be bound and stitched.


After they had drained, no one questioned it and I was given a lift down to Easy Company.


Technically that AWOL, though, right?


Yeah. Yeah, well, it is actually a because you're you're being ordered to do something and then you're not doing it and being ordered to go to Japan and you're not going there.


The company was on a sort of low level reserve, not anything.


We hadn't been not anything like what we've been on back in the spring, but rather regimental reserve. We were in defensive positions short of the front, ready to reinforce whatever regiment needed or to be ready on call to spearhead the company had a new CEO. Canning was the executive officer again. Three new lieutenants had come into the first. Third and weapons platoon command of 2nd Platoon was still mine. Carney had been true to his word. I'd only been gone for a few days, but barely recognize the unit.


Everyone treated me like something special. I was told I've been submitted for an entire shit pot full of awards. But Dave wasn't about to get me to bite on any of that bullshit, I mean, who else? I said I met Captain West, the new CEO. And the new three new lieutenants, Temes and ex Marine Lieutenant Dubois from Dubois Street. In Dubbo, in Dubois, Pennsylvania, and lieutenant from the sovereign state of Texas who wanted to know why, if I was such a damn good platoon leader, I wasn't an officer, I have poorly explained Captain West was a down home type.


He was tall, lanky and served as a commander in World War Two. He had been recalled out of Korea for the reserves. He made it clear that he would fight, but he wouldn't take jackass chances. He talked real clear and plain. We also received our first black replacement's, there were rumors that battalion headquarters had balked at it and that there had been a knock down, drag out brawl at regiment that ended when our C.O. was told there would be no more rotation until we accepted black replacements.


So the regimental C.O. had softened. We try a couple. If things didn't work out after a month, it would be discussed again. Easy company got one.


He was a super soldier, probably one of the finest sergeants in the whole damn army. The men were more than satisfied with him from the day he arrived. It was the officer corps and the ass kissing senior NCO and regimental and battalion headquarters who opposed the idea of integration, most of the troops didn't care one way or the other. The entire tenor of the war had changed, and this is fast forward a little bit. Things were much better. We had broken the Chinese spring offensive.


The second division was credited as having destroyed more than ninety two thousand Chinese regulars, more than thirty six thousand of whom were dead in that one three day action. Word was that the North was ready to commence peace talks. Boggs was Emii. He was last seen standing on a paddy dike out of ammo, swinging and entrenching tool as he went down under a pile of Chinese, Jennings was missing in action. Most of the replacements we had gained and gone down and gained and trained had gone down fighting some.


No doubt we're MIA and might show up as later. Later there were men to be trained. This part of the country is new to me, so I had maps to study. Our unit was not going to sit on its ass for long. We're going to push north.


This is where you start to see, you know, a different part of his character, maybe not a different part, but you start to see some of some of his character come through again, that defines some of his future. I mean, one of it was him looking at the black replacement's going like, yeah, no factor, let's do this. And the other one is that, well, another good indicator of his. Let's say his character and his mindset was they haven't started having some issues with some gorillas, and so the gorillas stepped in again and we started to take sniper fire daily.


The unit was ordered to burn out some villages to deny them a base of operations. West assigned me the mission and I refused.


I tried to explain that I hadn't joined the army or volunteered for Korea to fight civilians or burn their hooches. The discussion was getting sticky when Carlson volunteered and got both myself and went off the hook, it was a fatal error for Carleson. He took one through the chest from a sniper and went home in a body bag. I had hardly known the man yet. I felt the same terrible emptiness when he died as I had when Mac had bought the farm.


West asked me if I'd like to go out and burn the villages now. No, I said he didn't push it. What exactly is a gorilla, a gorilla is non uniformed fighter, so if it's a it's someone that's dressing up like a civilian and there may be acting like the civilian, but they're not in an organized military. So they don't have a uniform.


They have a chain of command, but it's it's underground. So, for instance, in Vietnam, there were the Vietnamese regulars, the VA, they were Army soldiers with uniforms. But then there was also the v.C. Right. You've heard that expression that the Viet Cong. So they might live in a village and act like a farmer.


But then at night they have AK 47 hidden and they attack. That's a guerrilla fighter.


So are they independent or are they, like, working?


You know, a little bit of both. They're going to be they're going to be less organized than a traditional military unit would be a conventional military unit.


So they're going to be a little less organized than that just due to the fact that, you know, they're they're spending some of their time as civilians, but they don't.


But do they answer to like let's say, you know, in Vietnam, like do the so the Viet Cong has a chain of command and structure and things like that and their senior Viet Cong and their senior guerrillas in this situation. Got you. But they're not they're not fully uniformed. And I'm sure like could there's probably a more technical definition than what I'm giving, but that's the general principle is a guerrilla fighter is not in an organized uniformed situation and probably is more or less a part time soldier, even though, like Viet Cong, there was professional Viet Cong, meaning they didn't have some other job.


But and this is, you could say, the insurgents in Iraq, same thing. And you could say that once the insurgents became ISIS and started wearing like black uniforms and flying a big flag, that was it's almost like they're not guerrillas anymore. They're an organized military unit. Yeah.


That was kind of their uniform variant, the black belt.


All right. So once again, they're on another hill I had left. And what's so crazy to think like that story of him attacking that machine gun nest where he saves the major and all that that kind of.


That that kind of could be the end of the book writing that he stabbed you. He's got a bayonet in his chest. He's been shot. You can kind of say, like, OK, that's probably a good place to go home for him and maybe in the book and all that, I'm not it's just not even close.


So they're on another hill. I had left a listening post, three men above and forward of the original positions when the Chinese moved in, they came around midnight at about company size. The the listening post picked them up and phoned the word, about 100 of them right on positions. Get down in your hole. Sit tight, I answered. Then I called back to company and radio to concentration numbers. Roy alerted the patrol to be ready to open fire on the old positions on command, which would be immediately after the first round of artillery exploded.


Figuring we must have pulled back, the Chinese began to chatter carelessly. Suddenly there was one loud woosh, followed by three more, and the world blew up in their faces. Fire exploded the entire finger and draw, lighting up the night in red, yellow and orange flashes, silhouettes of bodies shown against the blaze, winging through the sky, smashing up against trees and rocks. I gave the signal and the platoon opened up. When it was over, we had destroyed the entire company.


Or rather the artillery had. There was no question about it. Artillery destroyed more enemy in combat than all other services combined, including the Air Force. Death was sudden, ripping, ripping, violent. Most of the time, however, we used it badly and it was a waste. Tonight, we had worked well together and the Chinese had paid the price. I radioed back the results. West wanted me to take the platoon out across and verify.


I told him I would at first light. He told me you wanted to do it now so he could notify Battalion, I told him I would do it at first light and signed off. He called back two more times trying to raise me. I whispered for Sykes to turn down the volume quiet, settled over the area once again at first light. So there's a little little leadership, you know, little leadership scenario. Getting told to do something that probably doesn't make a lot of sense right now.


He just kind of turned on that really a little bit. Don't answer. At first light, I move the patrol back across the draw and we verified our three men were unscratched. The entire Chinese company, including parts of their officers, were present, accounted for and dead.


I radioed the results to West, good, good, he said, great with and then with a pause, come on in, we'll send a replacement platoon down. Not necessary. We don't have any casualties. I'll just send a party back for more ammo. Then as an afterthought, we'll have to move, though. It's going to smell pretty bad down here after the sun comes up. Sure. Certainly. He said whatever you feel is OK, just give us your coordinates and will when you get settled in, we'll Kozu out.


And I just highlighted that part because you can see even the West was pushing him to kind of go out there and check. But at the end of the day he trusts what he trusts what his guy in the front line says. We don't need to pull out, he needs more ammo, have to adjust our position and it's just a good thing to see.


Fast forward a little bit. I was called down to regimental headquarters and offered a battlefield commission to second lieutenant. Next time we were in reserve, I was to receive what Dave had called that shit pot full of decorations, the colonel commanding the regiment explained that many advantages I would have as an officer and a gentleman. But it was crazy, I didn't even have an education. I told him I preferred being an enlisted man for the time being. Then he said, you deserve to be the highest ranked one over here.


And he promoted me to master sergeant on the spot. He broke out a bottle and offered me a drink at the time. I need to smoke or drink, but I thanked him and sipped it while he discussed the possibility of my coming back for a commission when I changed my mind. I thanked him for the promotion and the drink again and then went back to the platoon.


So he almost got the battlefield commission and said, no likes being any dog, w picked up a piece of shrapnel. Actually, the next day, Fox Company pass through our lines into the valley. They swung east on a road and meandered through the wide, low, flat farmland to a major terrain feature behind Beyond Hills six, eight sixty eight on the map. They fought and died for that peak for the next two days and nights with us just sitting there listening to the battle rage.


West picked up a piece of shrapnel from an incoming eighty one mortar round and we received a replacement for him. A tiny, wiry, red headed Irishman with a waxed handlebar mustache. That was the pride of Korea, any man who can best be at Indian wrestling is a better man than I and can run the company, he announced. None of us knew what the hell Indian wrestling was, so he ran the company and he ran it.


Well, I put nine stars next to this. Here's a good leader. He joked with the men. He carried more than his share of the load. He took his turn out watch in the command post bunker. He carried an M1 rifle like the rest of us. He cooked his own rations and shared his water and coffee.


He was the best we'd had canning, except. There was no difficulty in getting the men to follow him or do their damnedest for him.


And he sure did his damnedest for us. So there you go. There you go. So this one point look, I was. There's a there's a part that I'm going to I'm going to I'm going to summarize a little bit of it.


So basically what happens is there's these four Chinese deserters that that end up with the company they basically captured.


They're not they don't capture, but they're deserters and they come over and say, we surrender, basically.


And then they say that there's going to be a 30 man combat patrol, that a North Korean patrol is going to go down this particular riverbed due north of the positions that they're in.


And canning the officer didn't believe them. Sounds like a setup, right? Oh, you're trying to get us to go down there and set up an ambush so he doesn't really believe him and. Herbert does believe the guys he kind of talks about how he psychologically was trying to figure out why would these guys do this, they're really surrendering. Like, why would four of them surrender? Why would you just send one to surrender? Why are you sending four guys to surrender?


So he kind of goes through his psychological profile, the guys, and he believes them.


So I tried to talk Canting in the new CEO into letting me set up an ambush for them. But Canting had prevailed. And the the best the new CEO would do is let me drop one machine gun team down to the valley on the river. Turns out that the Chinese guys had told the truth, the gun crew. And so now he did get one gun crew down there. The gun crew opened up a couple minutes short of midnight. They had caught the patrol in the riverbed, but the patrol was larger than anticipated.


And now they the machine gun crew was under attack. The new CEO called me on the sound power. No, I couldn't pull my platoon off line and go back to reinforce the gun crew. But I would take or send six men to do the best they could. I rapidly ticked off the names of my six best men as to the squad leaders.


I told them to have them on the trail behind the positions and I pick them up one by one and move toward the junction that led down to the valley below us. We tried to hurry and busted our asses slipping and falling over each other in the mud. We hit the flats and started to cross the battalion heavy mortar section was in position. I asked the CEO to have Canting notify them we were on the way and to be on the lookout for us.


So I must say that again, we asked the CEO to have Canting notify them that we were on the way in to be on the lookout for us.


One or the other had failed and their guards opened up with small arms fire without bothering to challenge us, Domus went down dead. We dropped into a small gully and maneuvered toward the riverbed, our gun crew is still pouring the lead. We broke out of the gully seventy five yards east of them, caught between their fire and the Chinese patrol. I yelled for the gun crew to hold fire and they did. Now it was us in the patrol, in the riverbed.


I caution my men to play it cool to use bayonets where they could. No automatic fire under any circumstances. All automatic fire would be considered enemy. We spread out and moved ahead. Slowly, the Chinese were in a panic. They broke out of the niches and crevices and one of the in ones and twos and we dropped them with single-file or placed a bayonet through their guts. First light broke and we had the sergeant and the platoon leader trapped.


They came out with their hands up. We marched them onto the Valley Road and had them hunkered down with their hands clasped across the tops of their head.


I left a man to guard them and went back to take the tally. We had wiped out the patrol except for our two prisoners. The deserters had told the truth. There had been 30 of them heavily armed, but now twenty eight of them were dead. There were sporadic shots up ahead, but nothing to get excited about a return to the road then moved up to where I had posted my guard over the two W's.


They were all dead. The men from the mortar crews had opened up on them with small arms. I saw bloody red, I swung in the direction of the mortars and aimed my rifle from the hip, one of their sergeants popped up. I'm sorry, Herberg, we didn't know. He dropped his carbine and raised his hands. We didn't know he apologized, no one told us. I lowered my rifle my fault, I said not yours. So if you didn't quite catch that, he did the mortar company did not know that there were friendlies around there and he had actually they had captured these prisoners and he left a guard with them and the mortar team killed them all, both the captured enemy people and and the.


Guards'. So and there you go, I mean, that's a that's extreme ownership, right? My fault, not yours. Blue on blue. Fast forward a little bit. We had received two replacements. One was named. A lieutenant named Manning, the other, a sergeant, was killed by a single artillery round which dropped into our positions that morning, no one in the unit except the CEO had even heard his name. Life was that dumb, war was stupid, if there was a God that he was stupid.


There was neither rhyme or reason to that man's death, and he meant no more than less than a chunk of clay when we passed him on the way out. Now, I mentioned, like for a split second that Fox company was headed up to this Hill 868 and now these guys, they didn't get their Fox company, didn't get it done. They took massive casualties. And now the company is heading up there and they get pinned down in this one particular spot and.


Well, here they are, Manning caught up with me. What's happening? He asked excitedly. I was in a crater my back against the wall. There was no sense in doing anything until the mortars let up.


There was no sense in getting excited either. I don't know, Lieutenant, why don't you pop your head up and take a look and then tell me I joked and he did it.


The machine gun ripped off a volley and he dropped back into my lap, two rounds through the mouth in one cheek, through the tongue, smashing some teeth, some teeth and out on the other cheek. He was OK, considering what it could have been. My the CEO was next.


He moved into the position with his radio, with his radio. Man What do you have up there? Hurby asked. Mainly the machine gun, sir. We'll get it after it gets dark. That's not good enough, he said. The regimental CEO is watching through the glass as he wants it now.


Came into turn to look at us, then let that fucker come up and take it. He said, Come on sir, I interrupted. Fox Company's been up here for weeks without moving. All we need is a few more hours. The twenty third is moving, is moving up, the old man said, we've got to have that hill today. I rolled over on my gut and gave Camy in the signal to get ready. In the next four hours, sixty one of us rounded that junction, 11 of us made it two thirds of the way to the top along the final bar.


The machine gunner at the top of the hill got the rest. So Knight found 11 of us almost at the top and the rest of us either cut to ribbons or unable to move. At 3:00 in the morning, the Chinese launched a counterattack down the ridge to drive us back, leading us down to eight. We still had radio contact with the CEO and he wanted to know if we can hold out, we're not backing up, I replied, Hang in there, Herb.


I've got a fifty seven coming up. Hang in there. He was referring to a fifty seven caliber of fifty seven millimeter recoilless rifle. It could take out the machine gun. All right, but it would have to be a direct hit every half hour or so for the remainder of the night. He called to check on how we were making out just before daylight. He joined us with the fifty seven and before we could stop him, he was through us and made a one man attack on the position.


And you almost had it. We gave him as much covering fire as we could, but just short of the position he went down, pulling the trigger of the fifty seven, the round plowed into the sandbags right of the opening two feet off total victory and blew the old man back down the hill ass over teakettle which saved his life. A call came in from the regiment. A platoon of Fox company would push through us and take the final bunker. Private Irvin Stern.


From North Dakota took two rounds through the chest. He never even asked to be evacuated. He apologized for being a problem. I could have hugged him. The platoon from Fox Company moved up to us, the lieutenant in charge wanted to talk until it was time for the assault. So I listened. He had a wife and kids. He never expected to make it. Pickens and Du Bois flashed through my mind he didn't intend to make it, but if he didn't, someone else would have to.


That someone was me with came in on the six we had left and against a machine gunner with the determination and guts that that bastard had. We weren't going to make it. So when the lieutenant moved his men out toward the peak, I had my last troops stand. Stand ready to reinforce, if necessary, as he stepped out to follow his platoon. I cracked him with the butt of Jordan's carbine and raced out through his troops, the gunner above opened fire and raked the hill, splattering dust and mud all around round us.


Men begin to fall back. I grabbed them and pushed them back up the hill. Get that motherfucker! I shouted, Get him! One of Fox Company's men shouted, OK, big deal, let's get him.


And then raced me.


Came in, was leading our own six up the ridge, men started tossing grenades from both sides and in the confusion, one blew the gun away and we had the hill.


We had lost Buck, who had been sent to the rear, wounded and was captured down by the brook by a Chinese patrol. Nelson was dead.


The CEO, our top notch black test case. Manning, everyone in my platoon was either dead or wounded except Kamia to myself. Word came up that we would be relieved, came and said it was about time. Then he rolled over the body of one of our troops who had bought the farm the night before and a grenade exploded. This war was getting to be a real pain in the ass. We sat there, him wounded now and only me in one piece waiting for our relief.


When the relief showed up, Roy could still walk. We move back down the ridgeline together. One of the relief asked him who we were and he replied, Easy company, 30th Infantry. At the west end of the Valley, we caught up with those few troops from our company that hadn't been committed. And that had been moved back by the battalion CEO. Maggie Higgins was interviewing them, the battalion CEO introduced me to her, she asked me to wait a moment while she conduct, while she concluded talking with someone else, she turned her head and I walked off.


I was about to wait for anyone ever again. Maggie's loss. I said to myself, turning back toward the Kansas line, I joined the remnants of what had been easy company, moving back up the hill, out of the valley and away from Hill 868.


And again, you think, OK, well, this got to be kind of the the end, right? This has to be kind of the end of this, what he's going through.


It's not. Then it kind of reflects on a little bit, he says, I was getting to know men. Types were predictable and the world is becoming less complicated. There were men and there were fakes.


A man either was or he wasn't and the rest was all Play-acting.


I was twenty one and I was already an old man. I had to shake it or I'd become a bona fide pain in the ass. So I started to listen to more than I talked. And was somewhat reserved with the men. The war felt different. There was no apprehension, no excitement. Everything seemed routine and easy. I was going to make it unless a stray round by had my name on it, and that was damned unlikely.


I'd become a survivor. Some men lived and some men died. I would live. There was more than just war for me, but for now I was still in Korea. We were all on the line and across the valley lay the next major objective. I was ordered to report to battalion headquarters for briefing.


So you get done with an operation where every you lose everybody. Is either dead or wounded. And you achieve your objective and you get back into the next objective. He does a little stint in a going to get past, as probably does a little stint with as a Marine Corps liaison and does an assault with the Marines and loses nine of the Marines that he's with. And then after that, he goes back to easy company again. We return to the same positions we've been pulled off of this back with easy company and rain began to fall.


I've been in Korea one year. Most men were rotating stateside within nine months, but I was still a wall with no records. I might be here forever. It was OK with me. I knew the country. I knew the war. And I was well on my way to knowing myself.


One day the war would end or else I'd go stateside with a million dollar shot. Either way, I'd be thankful I'd never again waste a moment of life.


And no one ever again will be able to take even a second of it from me. I felt terrific screw rotation, life was my oyster. Korea was my pearl. Going back out on another patrol. We cross the road and started up a hill complex beyond the fog, lifting behind and beneath us. The world was still calm. We picked our way carefully, silently. I stopped once and glanced back. I felt damn good. I felt proud.


I felt American. God damn it, we were the best just off the peak. They had a major gun position, a Russian heavy machine gun. Two crew members were standing outside, shooting the breeze, having a smoke. I gave a signal for the patrol to fan out on both sides of the trail.


I wanted those to taken silently and alive. I motion for the two scouts to cover me. Then, just as I was about to start forward to take them, someone triggered a booby trap. Both crew members made a break for their bunker and I had to drop them. So much for surprise. We still had shock action. And we were at the top in their positions with their key guns and most of their ammo. In effect, we had the Hill.


We could hold it as long as we can hold it long enough for George Co. to reinforce, then nobody was going to take it back. So I had to skip some stuff because it's a pretty detailed explanation of what's going on. But basically, there were kind of heading up this this into this position and they almost get fully in a position to get close enough to where they're going to be able to actually capture the people that are in that gun without without giving themselves away.


But somebody you can hear somebody hits a booby trap, but once the booby trap goes, they just kind of continue with the assault.


They don't get to kill the guys instead of capturing them, but they get there and they capture this freaking hill. And this hill didn't really go too much into it. But it's a very prominent terrain feature. And so it's like surprising that they get there.


And he says at the end there, we could hold the hill long enough for George Company to reinforce and once George Company was there. They would have the Hill known to be able to take it from. But George Company never showed. By late afternoon, there were six of us still alive and we could hardly see over the dead around us, every time I called Battalion, I got word that George Company was almost to us. Hang on. Randolph was reloading magazines into the bar.


Are they're not common, Sarge. We're almost out of ammo. Get the old man on the horn. I'd give it one more try. He wasn't available. According to the radio man. I glanced back down the trail. We'd come up so skillfully, so easily, so damn sure of ourselves that Chinese must find it unbelievable that we hadn't reinforced yet.


They didn't know we were down to six, almost out of ammo. If we made a break now and ran like hell, we might be able to make it before they would close in on us. I sent one final message. Tell the old man we're pulling out. Then, without waiting for Roger or any other bullshit like I'd been getting all day, I gave the word to saddle up. They stared at me in disbelief. What about George Company?


There isn't any George company now. God damn it, pack up and get ready to move. At a dead run down the trail, nobody stops until he crosses the road, then hold up and provide cover for the rest of us. Ready? I destroyed the maxim and picked up our own LMG, I began to tick off names. Keith, go, Nick, go, Daniels go Thompson, go I. I turned to Randolph go. And we were halfway down the hill before they caught on that it wasn't a diversion or another tactic, but that we were bugging out.


I took a round through the fleshy part of my calf. Randolph took one through the chest and a second through the head.


He was dead before he hit the ground. Everyone else made it across the road without a scratch, then held up and covered for me while I got Randolph's body out. I was puffing like a wounded horse. I'm sorry. Four of them, I'm just fuckin sorry. They would have to be crazy to ever trust me again, Thompson patted me on the shoulder. You ain't George Company, Serg. But it wasn't George Company either. They had never been alerted for stand by.


No one had believed we could ever make it to the top, and then when we did, they didn't think we could ever hold out all day the new to it, the battalion tried to explain to me that George company would get the hell back tomorrow.


If a patrol of twenty four could do it, it would be a cinch for a full company. And he was green, so we really believed it, it wasn't even worth explaining. I had been dealing with assholes like him on and off, on and off for almost a year now. I went over to the aid station and had them tend to my wound. The regimental CEO had me back to the rear again the same night and apologized.


No one had notified him that we'd made it to the top. He was sorry about my troops. But I brought back valuable intelligence. Now, the Hill would be easy. I tried to explain what was really on that hill that neither George company nor the entire battalion was going to take it now. We had blown our chance. You're just hurt herbut you'll see.


And we saw. George Company was chopped to pieces. The battalion failed. The 30th Regiment failed, they had to bring in the Ninth Regiment, part of the Twenty Third Regiment, the French battalion and part of the 14th Regiment. The battle raged for four weeks. We lost nearly five thousand six hundred men. Nineteen hundred dead, thirty seven hundred seriously wounded before it was secured. Heartbreak Ridge. We could have had it for free. And it would have gone unnamed and unremembered, except for one commander who had not believed in his troops.


A couple of days later, halfway up another hill, I was ordered to turn my platoon over to my assistant and report back to company headquarters where I was provided with a jeep to regiment, bypassing Italian, another jeep to division and on the sole 8th Army headquarters.


So you sure you've heard of Hamburger Hill? I mean, it's like a crazy battle and you got the casualties right there. One thousand nine hundred dead, thirty seven hundred seriously wounded. And they had taken the hill before it had been reinforced. So you can see he gets this now, this is a. Provided with these jeeps, back to battalion, back to regiment, back to division, and then all the way back to Seoul where the 8th Army headquarters is.


And this is what happens, we wheeled into Seoul and into the compound. Everyone was in classes except myself and the Jeep driver, I had never been this far to the rear in my life, not even in the States.


The MP at the Gates Gates checked her ID, then stood back and saluted. What the hell gave him the idea of us were officers, I couldn't figure, but to save time, I returned it. Your quarters are at number eight, Sergeant Herbert over there. He pointed at a building across the compound. Well, at least he knew I was a sergeant.


I hadn't asked the driver for his rank. Thanks, Corporal, I replied. Then turn to the driver. You staying? I asked Sarge. Sergej got to get back, save time, then I jumped out of the Jeep and lit next to the corporal. Take your bag, Sarge. Don't have any son. I was twenty one. I turned back the Jeep driver. Thanks. It's an honor, Sarge. He saluted me offhandedly, spun the jeep around in a cloud of dust and roared back through the gate.


He disappeared up the road and a second later in the afternoon, after a good bath and washing some of the filth out of my fatigues, I sought out the NCO club. It wasn't open yet. So I went back to my room, took another back bath and fell asleep. I had a terrible dream. It was one which would reoccur for years. I was charging a machine gun nest, not a bunker, but one in a whole. Like the one it conman GAO.


Then, with bayonets fixed out of ammo right on the edge, the earth gave way beneath my feet and I was going backwards, my guts unguarded, my rifle flung up in an attempt to really regain my balance.


But I was going over backwards. And I woke up in a sweat. I got a hold of myself in a second song where I was and laid down and went back to sleep to be awakened next by light footsteps at my door.


It was a young lieutenant. Everything satisfactory, Sergeant? He asked cheerfully. Great, sir, but while the service what the hell is it all about? It was just what he needed to trigger them off, the U.N. command had decided to send two outstanding soldiers from the command on a goodwill tour of Europe stateside, stateside, God knows where else our best, he said. Another soldier of the month contest, I thought I remember the MP at the gate in the classes and glanced at myself in the mirror.


I was ragged assed and tired, I didn't have a chance and I didn't much give a damn I was beyond that. I rushed the lieutenant out, took another bath dressed, slung my back and closed the door behind me. All I had to do is hitch a ride north and I'd be back to easy company within two days. The corporal was still at the gate where you headed, Sarge? He asked. Home, man, home back to my outfit.


But Sarge hey man, do I look like a soldier of the month material? I asked. He shook his head in the nicest way any human being ever had before or since. Sarge, you look like the toughest mother that's over here and our most decorated soldier, he had tears in his eyes.


You're going out, man. They're picking a guy to go with you. He lifted the rifle from my shoulder and you ain't going to need this anymore. So. Well, that. Is a good place to stop for this particular book for this. Pretty much where, you know, there's an epilogue that you should read, but the story ends there for this book. But it's the end of the book, but it's not the end of the story.


And I won't even crack open this next book yet, which is going to pick up with what happens throughout his life and his career in the Army after Korea. After some mayhem in Vietnam, where we're going to learn a lot about leadership, a lot about life, a lot about human nature, and we're going to learn some lessons.


So we will save that for next time to prevent having a seven hour podcast at this time.


Until then, Eco speaking of life. Sure. Crazy story, right? Crazy. I mean, insane. Yeah. Yeah. Like an unreal. Right. Right. Like it's not real. Like it's so crazy and unbelievable. Yeah.


It's like time and time and time and time again. You like how many. Nine lives for a cat. Yeah. What's he on. I think he's on 17.


It's crazy how he has like that much.


I don't even know what you'd call it, where he's just down for the court, for the fight just to be like I guess though, right?


Like when you're when you grow up just hardcore mining town, you know, like just hard.


You see your brothers go off to war. You see them coming home telling stories about what's going on. Just bit is there. Right. There's like embedded desire to be in war for many young men. Right. And I can't say everybody.


I want to make that statement. I can't talk about females because I don't I didn't interact with females as much.


But like, when you're in a single platoon, you're with a lot of guys that what they wanted to do growing up was go to war, myself included, like.


That's what that's what you grow up with, so there's got to be some kind of instinctual thing. Yeah, yeah. Like I mean, maybe oversimplifying, it would be like that's his hundred percent purpose in life. Yeah. So, yeah, whatever.


I get bayonetted a million times, shot, blown up, shot again, fail. This guy lets you down. This group lets you down. Higher ups letting you down shot up again and OK, like let me let me literally break the law many times by the way to get back to, you know, what else is crazy.


So he's there for a year. Yeah. Now imagine this was the one guy that he talks about. The sergeant shows up his first date gets killed. They don't even know what his name is. So so here's a guy that's going three hundred and sixty five days of front line. Someone else shows up and they're dead in an hour.


Yeah, man, I mean, you can I'm listening to the book and I'm like, brother, this guy is going to die soon, you know, obviously he doesn't die, but that's how it feels. You know, it's like, man, he just keeps going back.


That's crazy, man. In the beginning, it had a, you know, that graphic detail of the guts. Yeah. You know who does that to to somebody I can, you know, who they obviously capture and they just want to cut them open and let them go and then hang them up.


Like, how can you even do that, you know? Baffling bits, all it's humans, it's human beings. Yes, right in the darkness.


Yeah, but I don't know, man, nobody straight up. Yeah, I know.


But, you know, as far as, like, our perspective, you know, like, I guess maybe you could get talked through it like, you know, you hear about these crazy things that people do, right, whether it be to each other or whatever. And you can hear everything. You're like I can see how he got there. I would never do that stuff, but I could see how he got there.


You can kind of be like. I see. I see. It's hard like that kind of stuff to be like, yeah, this person, we captured them already. I mean, maybe certain angry. Like if you're angry enough at somebody maybe.


But what's interesting here's a good here's a good example of a thought process is when he is when he gets told, hey, go burn down that village. And he goes, no, I'm not doing it. Yeah. Now think about this. He says, I'm not doing it and the guys aren't. I'll do it. So the other guy goes out to burn down the village and he gets shot in the chest and killed.


And now you can see Captain West is like, hey, now do you want to go burn down the village? And you would think you could he you would think Captain West is sort of trying to take advantage of the anger that you would have of. Yeah. Like let's get some revenge. And he goes, no.


So that's that shows what his character is like. And again, this the idea of this character and the reason I'm talking about it a lot is when you see when we get to what happens in Vietnam, there's a lot of, you know, his character. You you have to try and understand his character because of accusations that are being made in all different directions.


It's yeah. Yeah. And it's weird to like any one of these. Actions that he did is so far off the charts of what what's what's expected to look to to like a normal award, writing above and beyond the that with complete disregard for his own safety, like all those things. Yeah, that's that's what he's got going on.


Yeah. Crazy man.


Well, back to the path. I was going to say, speaking of human nature, we know that we as humans have a tendency to drift off the path.


So maybe we need a little little little nudge.


Yeah, well, you know, a wise man once said it's hard to stay on the path and once you slip off, it may seem hard to get back on, but you can do it.


What do you recommend?


Well, there's good news. Because you're not alone in the path, you might feel like it, but you got some help, so I'm saying help through supplementation. Yep, I said it.


So, OK, so we're working out. That's a big one. We already know that it helps every element of your life, not just getting in shape, being in shape. It's funny, I keep getting reminded.


I think I mentioned this before. Obviously, I'm not going to go too deep into it because it really pales in comparison to pretty much anything we've ever talked about ever.


But it doesn't mean carry groceries or very close. So, you know the water jugs, right? I said I told you about this similar similar situation, but same thought process.


So, you know, water jugs, right. That the big five gallon ones on the cooler and stuff like that. So I was replacing mine at home.


And you got bayonetted. No, no. That's not your chest. No, I did not get white phosphorus burning you to the bone. I did not. But I had to grab it off like the shelf.


I was kind of zero. And you put it like that. You're going to take away the juice of oh, whereas you messed up, you got shot and the bullet wrapped around your bone.


No nobility in that day, but I saw it.


And the thing is like what, like 40 pounds? I think it's like eight pounds per gallon, right? Yeah, I think so. Anyway, so 40 pounds boom. And I and you have to kind of let it drop in.


So I got in a minefield, you know, so you can't just like I did it with one hand because I had something else on my hand because I was doing some other stuff at the same time.


So drops and I swing it almost like a kettlebell. You know, you got to catch the momentum and swing it and boom and boom. Forty pound big thing too, by the way.


So I bring it up and then I'm walking with it in one hand and I think I forget what I had.


In the other hand, I was doing something else and I walked it over and I was thinking to myself, it's kind of good to have this kid right.


You're over here.


Make it like making the comparison even more contrasty. So it's making it like sound old, all lame. But you can go get it for sure. I'm telling you what you think about it. It's way better to have that capability than not to. You seem to be able to handle the forty pound thing under, like I say, harder circumstances, but harder than normal.


I'm saying.


Yeah, it's almost like, you know, having to grab a wounded major as you're being overrun and having to throw him over your shoulder. Good point. OK, I have that capability.


Yes. Yes. Or just keep a water jug or whatever.


OK, perfect. So that's the point. The point is sometimes you got to go, why do you do this? You're doing it. I'm not pointing out what every single other person is thinking anyway. If you've got to save somebody you know and you have to put on your shoulder and run them.


Yep. Will be across the street or whatever, it's good to have that capability rather than. Oh, shoot, I can't do it by myself. I can ask for help. Same thing, Jack. Same thing with a lot jug check.


If someone needs some help, like, hey you don't you know the kind your grandma, whatever was like, hey, can you help me, can you grab that thing up there. You know, the water jug from the on the shelf. You want to be the guy that they asked to help because they know they can do it.


It's insane. Yes, bro. Hey, look, I'll let you out of this. We're not in Korea either. All right? Here's your out. You could take it anyway, man. I totally respect that. You want to help Grandma. Yeah.


And whoever else needs help. And that's not to mention when you're by yourself, you don't get asked for help because you can do it. Can you think? I'm just saying, if you have that option, like it's better to choose option where you have that capability is what I'm saying.


I agree. So that's why one of the many infinite reasons why working out is important, OK?


I'm correct, you are correct, anyway, when you're working out, sometimes you get a little little pains in your joints, which is no problem when you understand the range that would induce pain as well.


For sure. For sure. But no worries. Ducos supplements for these things not to be anything, obviously, but, you know, little pains in your joints, that kind of stuff. Joint warfare. It's called JOCO, joint warfare, super crude oil.


I think pretty much people know what we have. Hey, check this out if you want some of this stuff which should, you know, if you subscribe to it.


Because you don't want to miss it if you want to make sure you don't want to miss doing more for it, you don't want to miss you want like you don't want to run low on whatever supplementation is making you strong is giving you that freaking capability, if needed, to catch that one or what have you or whatever.


I mean, this could be a bag of groceries. This could be, you know, a cantaloupe rolling off the counter.


You want to be you don't want your joints to hurt as that's happening. Right. It could be mayhem and this could be major case.


If you if you go to JoCo fuel dot com and you subscribe, then shipping is free, which is cool.


OK, OK, so you I kind of shy away from assuming everybody already knows, but you bring up a good point from time to time that what if like eighty five percent of people already know something.


Yeah. And then I'm like OK, I'm accommodating the other, the, you know, the 15 percent and kinda in a way, in a way kind of ignoring the eighty five percent, the needs of the five percent could be seen making them go for that. Right. As well. Yeah.


No matter how good that. Right. It. Yeah. Yeah. Exactly right. Let's face it, that right is not far from the one thing that I understand everything. So we got drone warfare, krill oil discipline, discipline.


Go, Molk.


What else.


Anything else where your kid or your kid milk some vitamin D in their head.


So here's the here's the thing.


Here's here's an effective thing for the 85 percent of us who to do already know estimated go to Jacquot, fuel dotcom boom, everything on their choose like what you want.


You want the additional protein boom grabbling. You want the joints of boom go down. You want a dessert, you want a dessert that happens to have them nonetheless.


Yeah. So yes, Jarkko fueled dotcom the discipline go energy drink scenario.


These you can get of course duck-billed outcome but you can get them at Wiwa Vitamin Shoppe. Yep.


Yep. There you go.


You go to your shop also with a vitamin shop.


Yes. Also Orjan Main or Orjan USA, Cotlar self, you know, origin USA dot com. That's where you can get the stuff as well.


But you can also get or should I say you will notice when you're on there that you can also get American made jeans, boots, jiujitsu stuff as in Ghys Ghys Søgaard de Bags.


Yeah. Some good stuff on there.


Check, check. It's like it's true also. Stores called called. That's why you can get discipline equals freedom stuff, get hard core Secondo stuff, stuff is true. I need more of those shirts, by the way, and more of these shirts, by the way.


You got it. I know the guy and the ex flag can hook you up with a discount and everything.


So flag, you know, all good.


Also, if you were attacking an enemy position and it was flying this flag, would you hesitate a little bit more?


If I were, you would induce some hesitation.


You would look at this flag and you'd say, wait a second, these people look like they're going to bring the heat.


Yeah, they look like they have discipline you that everything ever goes like crazy in this country or in the world.


You will see me like, let's say revolution, war, civil war or whatever, whatever, whatever mayhem I'll be flying this flag.


Well, tell symbol you'll know discipline.


Yeah. Yeah. Good idea.


Old doing your thing. Regroup.


You just don't get to join because you want to.


I have capability and I'm highly trained. I need someone to catch the water bottles ready to go. I will be an asset to your team anyway.

[02:51:00] there's a cool scenario on there called the shirt locker that if you want a new designed shirt, do you ever give props to the guy that came up with your locker on Twitter?


Was it on Twitter? Oh, directly. No, I have not. Yeah. So whoever won our mystery human good job, you know, did you see or did I see it on it. Yeah. Yeah. I told you about it. Mystery humor.


I was going to blame you. You should have tracked his name but you didn't. Yeah. It wasn't even you that did it. See blaming never works. No, my fault took a check nonetheless.


That is what's going on on console. Yeah. Check it out. If you like something, get something. It's a good spot.


I also subscribe to this podcast if you want to. Sure. If you haven't yet, if you just listen to three hours and you haven't subscribed yet, that's your choice. But if you want to provide a little bit of support, you can subscribe to it. You can leave a review.


Oh, yeah.


We also have some other podcasts. We have JoCo unraveling new episodes out. Darrell Cooper from Markhor made we have the Grounded podcast.


We have new Warrior Kid podcasts. I mean, yes, we prioritized and executed on those. Yeah, I actually did.


Uncle Jake came through on those ones because they're they're pretty good. Very Jack, Jack, you don't have to legitimately good made an adjustment, their new Warrior Working podcast, you can check those out.


Also, we have the the the the JoCo Underground podcast, which is some amplifying information, some behind the scenes kind of kind of. We got some Q&A stuff coming. If you're a member of the underground, if you're a member of JOCO Underground Dotcom, you can actually ask questions and yeah, go to JoCo underground dot com if you want to. What does it subscribe, you have to pay money. Well, you pretty much have to pay when it's eight dollars and 18 cents a month.


Bunch of reasons why we're doing it.


We're doing it because we don't want to actually have somebody injecting advertisements into the middle of the podcast. We don't want to have that. So there you go. You can pay. And if you can't afford it, look, we're not trying to hold back information. If you can't afford it, no problem. No factor. If you can't afford the eight dollars and 18 cents a month email assistance at JOCO Underground Dotcom. And we also have a YouTube channel.


Which were echo like, he just he he bludgeons us with videos.


What are you talking about? I'm just talking about how some of the videos that that you that you're solely responsible for. A lot of people don't like them.


They like the videos that were on the system. OK, all right. I need you to channel what's it called? Podcasting. And it's a fish.


It's official. It's official said it's a fish. No, it's not a fish, but yeah, it's official verified. Yes, verified.


Also, check out Origin USA. They're putting up stuff if you want to tell the story that's happening up there. And there's zero explosions in their stuff, whereas and there's a very limited number of explosions on long videos, which also makes Origin USA this main Thai.


Right. That's main Thai. Yeah. Yeah. Looking that up is doing some good work up there you approve of meantime. Very much so. How come he doesn't make anything explode.


Well we're working on that, but he doesn't have the skill set skill set steps. Maybe it's because he, maybe it's because he is using some discretion when he makes his video.


Yeah. Very possible. Yeah. Uh, Jack. All right. There we go.


It's getting late. Also, psychological warfare. You don't know what that is. It's an album with tracks. So when you hit Moments of Weakness, you got Jokhang to help you.


I just realized since I just got done with the warrior kit, I just realized probably a year ago I said, oh, makes more psychological warfare for everybody. I haven't done it.


Yeah, well, you got to kind of collect or think of or kind of mentally get, uh, like current weakness.


The thing is, though, is like people were so stoked on that on that album and gave such good feedback. And I think I was just like, oh, yeah, well, people were asking like, hey, can you do it for. And I didn't really I was like pumped, you know, and then the prioritized next day started.


The other things started that I was going to say, would you lose motivation on know? And, um, well, motivation isn't going to get in there.


You go through literally motivation will not get that only discipline. You know, maybe I need to make a maybe I need to make a psychological warfare track of what to do when you don't feel like making a psychological warfare second album.


Uh, check flip side canvas football games, dotcom, Dakota Meyer, my brother, who's making cool stuff to hang on your wall, got a bunch of books, got a novel coming out, but maybe it's a novel. We're not really sure what it is, but I wrote something that's not a leadership book and it's not a kid's book. It's a.


Story. Well, we'll say that for now, I think I'll read a little some of it at some point. So. The book is called Final Spin, you can preorder right now and you can get that first edition leaders of Strategy and Tactics Field Manual, the code evaluation, the protocols discipline, of course, Freedom Field Manual, the way the Warrior Kit for Field Manual. I just tapped out my mike right there. Sorry about that, coach.


I was going to fix that in post where the World Code for Field Manual where the word good one, two, three Making the Dragon About Face by Hackworth Extreme Ownership Dichotomy, Leadership, National Front Leadership Consultancy. We solve problems through leadership. Go to ashlawn front dotcom if you need help inside your organization. We do live training all the time and we have courses online available if online dotcom. If you want to check that out, we have some live events that we're doing called the Muster the muster.


Go to extreme ownership dotcom if you want to come to the muster. We also have a battlefield coming up. We've sold one out. And so now we're going to see if we're going to do one more if you want to.


Learn lessons from the Battle of Gettysburg if you want to walk the if you want to walk the battlefield and see where General Lee and Long Street and AP Hill and General Meet and and Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, you come to that spot on Little Round Top where Joshua Chamberlain and the 20th Maine talking about bayonet charge down the hill.


You can you can go there and you will feel it. So go to ashlawn front dotcom slash events if you want to come to that. We already sold out the first parts only it's thirty five people per. So two days. You, me. Thirty five of thirty five of us. Thirty six of us whatever.


So come and check that out if you want to help service members, if you want to help active duty and retired service members, if you want help their families. If you want to help Gold Star families, check out Mark Lee's mom. She's got a charity organization, Mama Lee. And if you want to donate or you want to get involved, go to America's Mighty Warriors dot org.


And if you want more of my wearisome readings or you need more of EKOS uncoupled inquiries, inquiries, you can find us on the website, on Twitter, on Instagram.


When just so everyone knows what I'm talking about, he only knows that as the graph and on that Facebook wall echoes that, I could just imagine Michael Willink and thanks to all of the. People out there in uniform.


Maintaining our proud our proud traditions of military service, as you also protect our way of life and to our police and law enforcement and firefighters and paramedics and EMTs and dispatchers and correctional officers and Border Patrol and Secret Service and all first responders, thank you for protecting us as well.


And everyone else, remember what Colonel Anthony Herbert's father told them before he left for boot camp.


He said nothing is as hard. I was just getting started. Don't wait, don't hesitate, don't ponder anymore, just get started. And until next time, this is Echo and JoCo out.